Dress For What?

Did you see the creepy story last week about that woman’s funeral in New Orleans? Seems 1402711083000-Still0613-00001her family and friends decided that her memorial service should reflect the way she lived her life. Since she was a well-known party girl who loved to watch her New Orleans Saints on television, they arranged to have the funeral home dress her body in her best game day clothes and sit her in a chair at a table. And so as the memorial service commenced, there she sat with a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette between the fingers of the other with a football game playing on the large flat screen behind her. There were even disco lights spinning around to set the right mood for her funeral ‘party.’

I guess if this display hadn’t been at a funeral home, and you didn’t know any better,1402711083003-Still0613-00004 you might have been able to pass right by this woman and not realized what was known to everyone else in the room. This woman was dead. No pulse. No light in her eyes. No thoughts. No awareness. No ability to move. No life.

Weird, to say the least. But, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in this world are spiritually doing the exact same thing. Ephesians 2 is extraordinarily clear about the condition of humanity before Christ cleanses us of sin and comes into our lives. Verse 2 says without Him we are “dead in trespasses and sins.” We’re not sick. Not in need of a little help from a doctor. Not needing to work on a few things. And no matter how nice you dress yourself up, or how well you arrange things around you or how much of a party atmosphere you create, the fact that remains that without Christ, your spirit is dead.  Dead. And we’re no more able to change the reality of our condition than the friends of the lady sitting dead at the table in that funeral home.

That’s the problem we all face. We’re born spiritually dead. And we can’t do anything to help ourselves.

But thank goodness that’s not where our story ends.

Ephesians 2:4 reminds us that we have a God who overflows with love toward us and is full of mercy and grace. It’s because of His compassion and great heart of concern for our situation that He sent Jesus Christ to pay our penalty for sin and become our resurrection.

jesus040414_01Most people who’ve been to church very much are familiar with the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. While we may know the details of this great miracle from the first century, what people often miss is that it’s also a great visual picture of what Christ offers to do for each of us right here, right now.  We’re dead in sin. And the only hope we have for leaving our tomb is through trusting the power of God through Christ to raise us up and give us new life.

While there are countless categories of occupations, hobbies, and political persuasions that we may default to in describing ourselves, there really are only two kinds of people in this world. You are dead, or you are alive… you are either in sin, or in Christ. And no matter how wealthy eloquent or influential you are, you can’t change your condition by yourself. It only happens through belief in Christ’s work on our behalf. Here is His promise. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (Jn 11:25-26)

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you … may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

 

 

13 thoughts on “Dress For What?

  1. Dimitra Savvidou says:

    only in New Orleans that could happen! and yes, Karen, your wonder how many live life in a dead status, there are plenty! The Bible encourage us as we know that multitudes will be dressed in white robes but still, there is so much work to be done and make sure that people chose life! Blessings and keep the good work!

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      Good thoughts, Dimitra! Definitely a choice to exist in a perpetual state of death or to choose LIFE!

      Reply
  2. Antoinette Bradley says:

    My mother will be 70 next year and she spends the great majority of her time in her bedroom watching T.V. She does watch a lot of Christian shows and seems to comment on how she wishes she knew what her purpose in life was. We all have different purposes in our lives but each of us has 1 purpose that belongs to each and every one of us. That is to live in Christ and spread his word. By spreading his word maybe we can help raise someone else up who is dead in the spirit so that they may live as well.

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      God has indeed gifted us with differing talents and skills, but we have a singular purpose. Col 3:23 sums it up nicely. “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Thanks for stopping by Antoinette!

      Reply
  3. Mel Thompson says:

    I once read a story about a man who was about to die in Scotland. His final request was that he be buried in his one and only TUXEDO. After his burial, his tombstone read: “All dressed up and no place to go”. As believers in Christ Jesus, we have an assigned task when we meet the unsaved world. “Behave yourselves wisely in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity” (Col. 4:5). Love you POST Karen!

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      Thanks the Lord that we do have some place to go after this life… and as you said, hopefully, through our lives and testimony, we’ll take a lot of people along with us! Thanks for your thoughts, Mel!

      Reply
  4. Becca says:

    This is such a great post! I loved the comparison, here. Thanks for sharing! :))

    Reply
  5. Carolyn Henderson says:

    What a lovely post, Karen — and you are so right: it’s option 1, or 2, dead, or alive, no something in between. It’s like one of my choir teacher used to say, “You can’t be singing just a little flat. You’re either flat, or you’re not, the same way you’re either pregnant, or you’re not. There’s no in between.”

    Well written, encouraging, quick moving and enjoyable.

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      Thanks Carolyn. It’s funny how you can see God and His message in anything if you look hard enough. Just like Ephesians says, He is “over all, through all, and in all!” Appreciate your thoughts!

      Reply
  6. Rachel says:

    Definitely creepy. But since I would like my funeral to be a celebration, I once thought it would be fun if at my funeral, they stood the casket up and had me w/ a smile on my face and arm up like I’m waving goodbye. Still a little creepy, but more theologically sound!

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      My husband jokes that he wants his casket stamped “Return to Sender”! That’s good theology too!

      Reply
      1. Rachel says:

        Thats great! I have heard of someone whom wanted to have on their tombstone, “I’m not here.” Its funny but it right sizes our perspective!

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.