I planned my funeral

Psalm 119:49-56

God told me to plan my funeral. Not because I’m ill or anticipating any grave danger. No, it was in response to reflecting on my calling and what difference I was making in God’s kingdom. That’s a fancy way of saying I was doubting myself.

That was a first for my ministry. It’s not that I’ve been overly confident of everything I’ve ever done. A mentor taught me to do everything with intention and integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do and do it on purpose. That has guided me well and kept me from stressing out about things that don’t work out how I expect them to.

But this was different. People weren’t responding. Things were not developing how I thought they could. What was I doing wrong? Where did I go off track? Maybe I misread everything about our ministry’s context.

That had been gnawing at me for a little while. Finally, as I drove early to church one Sunday morning, the Spirit told me to plan my funeral. Yes, I thought it was as strange as it probably sounds to you.

But I listened.

I considered scripture passages that are important to me and that have shaped my faith. We’ll share Holy Communion at my funeral. Should you be around, you’ll hear or sing a song titled “One Thing.” The “Spirit Song” is also mandatory! And I can’t wait for you to “Put Your Hand in the Hand.” Oh, and I still haven’t decided to change my mind about preaching my own funeral sermon.

There was still something missing. And then it came to me. Words to a song I learned a few years ago:

Come rejoice now, O my soul
For His love is my reward
Fear is gone and hope is sure
Christ is mine forevermore

Planning your funeral helps you put your life into perspective. When you come to your final moments, what else do you have left other than Christ?

I told that story (most of it) to my congregation yesterday. It was an Aldersgate moment for me. I’m grateful for these experiences. They encourage my faith and deepen my trust in God. This one happened on the freeway one Sunday morning. There’s nothing spectacular about driving a twenty-year-old car to church.

And maybe that’s the point.

We don’t need a mountaintop to experience God’s grace. Just an open and willing spirit to hear what the Lord will tell us. May your life be filled with such moments of assurance and peace. And may Christ, indeed, be yours.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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