From the Mourning House

1 A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart .
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
Eccl 7:1-3 (NASB)

My uncle Bud breathed his last on Tuesday night. While I’m waiting for the final load of laundry to finish so I can pack and make way to Amarillo, I thought I would attempt to share some thoughts from the table of the mourning house this morning…

  • Death really is no respecter of persons (Hebrews 9:27)
  • All of mans plans are subject to the providential hand of God. He is in ultimate control of all things (James 4:13-15)
  • It is easy to become sentimental at a time like this, and I think it is even normal. But in reality, death is a merciless foe. Death is a robber of mans life. Death stings. Yes, death has been defeated by Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but until his return, death strikes with pain as it laughs its way to the grave.
  • I remember reading once that a well lived life will be deeply mourned at death. I anticipate to face a deep day of mourning on Friday. This passing will be nothing like that of the description of Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 22:18-19.

“They shall not lament for him…
…With the burial of a donkey he shall be buried,
dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 22:18-19

There will be no burial with a donkey this day, no emotionless dumping at the grave. Mourners will line this funeral procession with deep sorrow. Strangely, God inhabiting the praises of His people.

  • The passing of uncle Bud is met with much mourning. Tears and sorrow are natural. Surely the greater the bond, the greater the loss in death. This is certainly the case with uncle Bud. It is comforting that he was a believer. The grieving is not that he has passed into glory, but rather the missing of a fellow sojourner.
  • I don’t know the mourning of a spouse or parent. A pain that grips and strikes the tongue mute is a pain I know not.
  • At times like this, a mourning soul may not even be able to comprehend practical needs. The kindness of a genuine friend is priceless. The kindness of not offering trite or emotionless catch phrases are longed for. Your kindness is heard in both your words and your silence as you venture into the unusual realm of sorrow.
  • The grand work of caregivers are never missed. Those who care for others with dignity and sympathy are treasured by those close.
  • The Mourning House is not the house you will look to visit today. But it is a house we are sure to reside in from time to time.
  • Reputation of piety (righteousness) and honesty are to be desired more than all wealth and pleasure.
  • What a strange moment: it will do more good to go to a funeral than to a feast. The argument is made that we may go to both. But likely we are to choose to indulge the flesh and only wish to visit the house of pleasure. The best place for me to be on Friday will be the house of mourning, to learn the end of a man. Seriousness is better than foolishness. I anticipate there will be serious laughter. I expect to laugh. I expect to weep. I expect to be silent. I expect to express.
  • The glory of God will rule the day. There will be many thoughts and memories expressed and lamented. But none will rob God of His glory. For He has redeemed us from the power of the grave. There will be mourners at the grave this day. But joy is at the door.

To God be the Glory!


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