How You Can Go to Your Own Funeral

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Colossians 3:3–4

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

CONSIDER THIS

The one thing we will never be able to do is to attend our own funeral. We will be there, all right. It’s just we won’t be there be there. It’s why we should spend a lot more time eulogizing the living, but I digress.

That’s what so revolutionary about today’s text. Paul tells us we must host our own funeral, behold ourselves being laid in the ground and buried, and then keep coming back to the cemetery and visiting the tombstone in order to remind ourselves.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (v. 3)

Here’s a life application point for you. Get yourself a dry-erase marker and write Colossians 3:3 on your bathroom mirror.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

If ever there were a verse that needed to jump off the page and into our days, this is it. As I pointed out the decade-long focus our team had with Colossians 2:2 a week or so back (remember the 2/2 Domino?), I am only today discovering the serendipity of 3/3. Now that’s a domino effect!

Because he knows the secret to life is to die before you die, Paul wants us to attend our own funerals. There is a technical term for this phenomenon: baptism.

Paul summarized it brilliantly in his letter to the Romans:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6:3–4)

There are many metaphors and meanings for Christian baptism, but for my money, there is increasingly only one: death and resurrection. Talk about reconnecting the motions to the movement—we must begin here!

I get and support baptizing babies, but only if the rite of confirmation could involve a casket—which is probably why I haven’t been asked to pastor a local church. I also support services of baptismal remembrance, but only if they involve holding one’s breath while under water. What we need are not more baptismal rituals and remembrances for the spiritually dead. What we need are more tombstones for the living. And here’s the epitaph: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

Let’s call Domino #3/3: The Funeral.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who precedes us in the only death worth dying and in the only life worth living. Teach me the secret of dying before I die, that I might truly live while I am alive. And we thank you that because of Jesus, we can die before we die such that we will not die when we die but be alive forever more. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Have you been to your own funeral yet? Why not?
  2. What do you remember about your own baptism? It didn’t have to be grand experience at the time. It can actually be retrofitted with its real meaning. What might that look like?
  3. Have you written Colossians 3:3 on your bathroom mirror in dry-erase ink yet? What are you waiting for?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Having been born into and raised within a faith tradition that practices infant baptism (Lutheran), the questions that you raise today hit close to home. What you’ve revealed is the weakness of that practice when the responsibilities of the sponsors/God parents are ignored and forgotten. But I’ve seen the same problems crop up amongst those who wait to have their children baptized at an age when they’re old enough to answer all the questions correctly. In both cases it’s a failure to properly disciple the children of Christian families. For that matter, I’ve seen folks who’ve been baptized as adults walk away from their baptismal grace. We face the widespread problem of the Church here in America in failing to truly make disciples. We’ve settled for making mere converts.
    Today’s Daily Text seems to me to be an attempt to recapture the proper role of baptism as an initiation into the Christian Faith. I believe this is a proper first step.

  2. A dead person is only facing in one direction, not looking back, and not making any more personal plans. Yet at times, I still find myself double minded, looking back, and making my own plans, so I guess I’m not fully dead and buried. Baptism is once and done, but actually dying to self in an ongoing, lifetime process. Paul said, “I die daily.” The process of the crucifixion of our self-will slow and painful. I wrote this about it:

    Watching your old man die makes you want to cry,
    Seeing all your hopes and dreams take their wing and fly;
    And I know that old man, his name is “myself,”
    But I can’t help him now, he belongs to someone else.

    Cause Jesus, I gave myself to You.
    Said You could do whatever You want to,
    But watching him die is such a painful thing,
    Although I know new life it will bring.

    And it’s hard to say, “Lord, have Your way,”
    My old man sticks around and says he’s gonna stay.
    He moans and groans in agony till I just can’t bear to see;
    Then he grabs me by the hand and says, “Save me boy, I’m your’ old man.”

    Cause Jesus I gave myself to you,
    Said you could do whatever you want to.
    Jesus I give myself to you.
    Go ahead and do whatever you want to, to me.

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