When the Bell Tolls…

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”   Matthew 5:16

Keep this verse in mind my brothers as I bid you ‘Good Morning.’

I went to a funeral last week. I did not know the deceased but I knew her dad and have great respect for him. I was disconnected enough from the family that ‘not going’ would have been permissible but something (the Holy Spirit) called me there. One thing I have learned about the ‘still small quiet voice’ is to listen even if the request doesn’t make sense. Due to the timing of my arrival (or the Holy Spirit), I found myself seated right behind the family and worship team. The father, who was burying his daughter, got up to lead the assembly in worship. He introduced himself and explained why he was joyful. He talked about Jesus and his daughter united in eternity and how this fact fills him with joy.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and stood to sing.

Now…I have been to many funerals where somebody stands in front and says in a quivering weak voice, “We know they are in a better place. Let us sing our praises unto the Lord” and the assembly sings at a volume barely higher than a whisper. The assembly at this funeral, recognized the good works of the father, and went on to glorify our heavenly Father with their voices lifted high. It was incredible, it was moving, it was…super-natural. That man…stood on that stage…and played his guitar, sang his heart out, and radiated joy all over that room. God was moving throughout the assembly.

“You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say, Lord
Blessed be Your name, Lord”

My voice was singing and praising God while my mind was thinking about God’s Holy Word and death. Romans 6:4-9 says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.”  

I have witnessed many baptisms where the sinner rises a saint, sins are washed away, the old life has died and a new life has begun…and the assembly cheers. Our baptism is a spiritual death of our old sinful self. It transports us to transformation. The passage above says that after our baptism, we are alive with Christ. This means that we are in Him, one with Him, and share in His traits and characteristics. Death no longer has any power over Christ and likewise…over us. Death indeed has lost its sting because death has lost its finality and is now used to transport us to Christ. This funeral was more like a baptism than it was a funeral. This beautiful daughter of Christ was transported into the loving arms of Christ through her physical death, transformed for all eternity, and the assembly celebrated.

“And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name”

In our lives, the bell tolls for us all. The ringing of that bell is a call home for supper. The bell calls us home to family. The bell bids us to enter our final rest and spend eternity with our Lord and Savior. When the bell tolls for one of our loved ones, let us celebrate the mode of transportation. What was once death…is now life.

Praise God…..

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