It’s peculiar, but I’ve noticed that over the past several years, I’ve fallen into the pattern of reversing the words “wedding” and “funeral.” I’ll say that I’m going to a funeral when it’s actually a marriage ceremony I’m to attend, and I’ll say I’m going to a wedding when it’s a funeral that’s scheduled. I could chalk it up to simply getting older, but it probably has more to do with the fact that I almost never wear a suit unless I’m going to one of those two events. In fact, I refer to this seldom-worn garment as my “burying and marrying suit.”
On the other hand, it’s occurred to me that perhaps Christians would do better if we all thought of weddings a bit more like funerals, and funerals a bit more like weddings. Perhaps our rather pathetic divorce rate is partially due to a misconception regarding marriage right from the start. We see marriage as our happily ever after ticket, the fulfillment of our desires, and fail to see it as it is.
Entering into the covenant of marriage requires a death of sorts. Both husband and wife forsake their former independent ways of living and become one together. No longer does the man have a life, nor does the woman have a life. No, together, they now have a life completely entwined with one another and with God.
Of course this all implies a resurrection of sorts because, while the man and woman both die to their former ways of life, they now enter into new life together. After all, we Christians are children of God because Christ died and was resurrected, bearing all our sins and making a way for us to be joined to God so we can live forever with Him.
That is why funerals ought to be more like weddings. If the one who has died was in Christ, the living should celebrate more than grieve the fact that the person has been resurrected to a new life, unshackled from the sin and pain and decay of this present world.
So let us embrace a bit more death in marriage and celebrate more life in the death of beloved Christians.