Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Drive Through What?

Just went you think you have heard of almost everything, something somehow arises to change that. And this time, I’m not sure whether it is good, bad, or both? At first, I thought it was a prank. Then, upon finding it was real, I though it was terrible. But lastly, there may actually be some value – limited though it might be.

The article described a so-called "convenience" that has been in use in Saginaw, Michigan and, I believe, a few other locations as well. It was constructed at a funeral home there and is being used by those who visit the establishment. There is no other way to describe it other than to say what it really is - a literal drive-thru viewing window for the mourners of some deceased friend or relative.

Here is what was said in the online article: “Paradise Funeral Chapel has installed a window that displays a body set up in a special area inside the building with a raised and tilted platform for  the casket. Curtains over the window automatically open when a car pulls up, and mourners get three  minutes to view a body as music plays overhead. There also a deposit opening for leaving donations, cards or memory items. And behind a door is a retractable guest book that the traveling mourners can sign.”

Deceased drive-thru giving? Now maybe you have also heard of almost everything too. Even now I’m not sure what I really think.

To start with, there is some potential good. This can probably be helpful to a few who are too elderly to attend a viewing. But with that said, I cannot help but wonder how such a "convenience" will not be taken advantage of and abused by those looking for an easy way out and wanting to avoid personal contact at an awkward and difficult time. This option is so very easy to use even when not needed.

There are just some things in life that just should not have short cuts available or made so easy as to not require any energy or sacrifice at all. As is often true, those things that require the most effort and dedication are the same things that are valued most and often most worth while.

This is likewise true in the spiritual realm. The Bible tells us that Jesus, the Creator God, humbled Himself to the point of death and even a form of death that was the most humiliating and painful there could possibly be – and that was just the physical aspect of it!

Just before his crucifixion, although in great agony, He refused the easy way out. "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luke 22:42) And during the execution, He again revealed His total commitment to the task by refusing to do what those around Him tempted Him to. “Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” (Matthew 27:42)

Had the Lord taken an easier path and not fully experienced death for us all, we would have no way to be forgiven. The Bible is clear that there is one way – and one way only – to be saved. There is no short cutting of that fact!

Lastly, for those who are in God’s family, there is no easy road to instant spiritual maturity. The New Testament repeatedly commands believers to grow in the faith and to become loyal disciples of their Savior. This requires effort and discipline even though salvation comes from God’s grace and is a free gift. Those who avoid paying the required price to grow will not honor the Lord or become like Him as Scripture commands. Alternatives and quick fixes are always inappropriate and fairly useless.

All who are "presented" in their caskets at this drive-thru establishment are now in eternity. Their fate is sealed one way or another. But any who opt to drive by to pay their respects still have one of two spiritual routes to travel on before their own death arrives. What matters then is not what kind of box we are in, how or where it is viewed, or even if there is no box at all. What means everything is how God views the soul and how each soul views Christ. What matters ultimately is whether or not God’s gaze upon us at life's end is forever filtered through the saving blood of His Son’s cross.

How does He view you right now? Are you today attempting endless and meaningless short cuts? Or are you traveling God's prescribed pathway to a guaranteed heavenly home later and to a spiritually mature Christian experience now? Amazingly, the Bible reveals that we can – and should – know how God views our hearts today and forever. (Hebrews 4:13)

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13)

Bill Breckenridge

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