Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Looking Good Enough to Bury.

I walked into the funeral home on a Christmas Eve morning in a small town about twenty miles from my home. An elderly man in our church had died and his wife of more than fifty years was taking her husband back to his hometown for the funeral and burial. I was asked to conduct the service. When I walked in, I met the funeral director who sized me up and seemed to chuckle to himself. I discreetly checked my fly, straightened my tie, and wondered what was so funny to him. Soon the woman whose husband had died greeted me with a warm smile and a hug. "Come see Harold." I walked with her to the side of her husband's casket with my arm around her shoulder. And there was Harold headed for his eternal rest and reward and dressed exactly like me. I'm not kidding. I'm not exaggerating. Same suit, same shirt, same tie. "Doesn't he look nice, Brother Drew?" "Yes," I stammered, "Harold looks fine."

Too late for any wardrobe change. Soon the service began, and I did my best to make it a comforting and joyous celebration of a godly man's life. Then, at the conclusion of the service, I closed my Bible and stepped to the head of the casket as people filed past for a final viewing. It was then I noticed some people doing a double take, looking at Harold, then me, then back to Harold, some folks just shaking their heads. They were probably wondering if Harold and I were in the same singing group or with the same company or bowling team or something.

After the service was over and we returned from the cemetery, the funeral director and I shared a few laughs over this remarkable coincidence. But on the drive back home on that Christmas Eve a sobering thought struck me. I had dressed to conduct a funeral, but it could just as easily have been my funeral. Apparently, I was dressed for the part. And one day it will be my turn to take that ride in a long black car, and no wardrobe change can change that fact.

Do you ever ponder your own mortality? When was the last time you were reminded of the limits of your life?

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