Quite a ways back, the Country Music singer Tanya Tucker came out with a song where she sang about when she died. The chorus went something like this:
When I die, I may not go to heaven
‘Cause I don’t know if they let cowboys in…
I don’t know if Ms. Tucker ever got her theology corrected since then. If she did, then she knows God loves the cowboys and cowgirls too and that distinction will not keep one out of heaven any more than that distinction will get them in. What I do know is also found in a song that sings the grace of God toward me and anyone else who knows they will never be good enough or hold any position that gets them into heaven.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.
I once was spiritually dead, but now I am spiritually alive. As such, I know my eternal home is with God through Jesus’ saving grace. I know I will physically die, but I will spend eternity in heaven. How do I know you may wonder? There are several proofs I have experienced that have settled this issue for me. The main proof is time. I have walked long enough with my Savior, Jesus to see the work He has done in my life and in the lives of others. I have read enough of His words to see the truths contained therein transform not only my life but the lives of others as well. I have labored long enough beside fellow believers to see the hand of God in them as they minister to others. I have witnessed enough of God’s supernatural intervention when it defied logic. I have suffered enough to feel the arms of Jesus wrap around me and comfort me. I failed enough, and each time God has picked me back up.
So, when I die, I want it to be a celebration of a life well lived before and with my God. I want there to be some humor in it. I want people to remember how God used me to touch their lives and I want people to remember that when I blew it, how God gave me the strength and courage to make it right. I have envisioned my funeral to my family and some friends several times.
At the visitation:
As my body lies in the casket, I want it draped with yellow daffodils (my favorite flower, I will have to tell why in another blog). I want the contemporary Christian music songs from my MP3 player playing in the background. Along the route where the line of visitors usually forms, I want there to be small ceramic planter type pillars (like the ones the plants stand on) strategically placed with the several candy jars from my office on each one. So, there will need to be at least three. This way the jars can be emptied for the last time. One friend jokingly commented that I am assuming there will be a line. True enough.
When the visitors arrive, I want them to get a half sheet size bulletin, with the usual stuff in it and one of those small pencils you use when playing goofy golf. On the back of the bulletin will be a “seek and find” puzzle of all the things I accomplished or attempted in my life, i.e., beekeeper, author, father, friend, husband, etc. You get the idea. This way folks have something to do while they are waiting in line (again, assuming there will be a line) and when they get to the front of the line, they will have something to talk about with the family members they never met before. I can hear it, “Hey, I never knew T.J. was a blogger. Now that he is gone I will have to go back and read some of his stuff.” My family could reply, “Yes, and he was an author too, here’s his card with his websites. They are still up and running. We still have some of his books we need to get rid of. Just order from the web store.”
At the funeral:
I will leave it to my wife and family as to how they want me positioned at this fancy affair. That’s how it worked when I was alive, so why stop now. I am good with it now; I will be good with it then. My friends can offer their eulogies, stories, and memories, etc. There are few songs I want the congregation to sing. Hopefully, I have more than four friends show up. If not then it can be a quartet. Here they are:
- Shout to the Lord (Someone doing sign language to this would be great)
- How Great is Our God
- Beulah Land (This is good as a solo)
- Ten Thousand Reasons (aka Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul)
I want this scripture in the mix somewhere:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. I Peter 1:3-5.
And this scripture on my tombstone:
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:10
When it is all over, and everyone comes by to say their last good-byes, I want four crisp one dollar bills in my hands so my four children can come by and get my last dollar. When they button up the casket and wheel me out, I want it to be to the tune of circus/ theater music, because that will be the epitome of my life: full of adventure, surprises, laughter, drama, and clowns.