What exactly is a Christian Funeral?

Posted August 25, 2017

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n the United States today, an average funeral can exceed $14,000. That is a lot of money. Is it really necessary?  You want to do what is right, a simple “Christian Funeral.” What exactly is that? Lets start by examining what the Bible says about funerals.

A funeral is an important social event in the Christian community

A funeral for a Christian is a celebration of a promotion, which has already taken place. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” It is a testimony to our family and friends that we believe our deceased loved ones are not in the casket. According to scripture we are “present with the Lord.” I think it is unnecessary to spend lots and lots of money. So a Christian funeral has more to do with celebrating what has happened to the spirit. A Christian funeral should not be focused solely on the body of the person who died. The focus is on what we are proclaiming, that like Lazarus, we have only fallen asleep and we are waiting to be awakened (John 11).

So where should we hold the service?

Consider having your service at the church as many of our major “Christian life” events are celebrated in the church. As babies, we are dedicated in the church, as young people, we go to Sunday School to learn the ‘Kindergarten principals’ of the Bible, we commit our lives at the alter, are baptized in the church, married in the church and then buried through a funeral home chapel? In my view, a Christian’s funeral should be in the church!

What Should A Christian Funeral Cost?

You will save money if you have the service in the church, because you shouldn’t have to pay for funeral home facilities you don’t use. Some funeral homes don’t like this because it reduces their fees. In some instances a funeral home may charge the same amount for “staff” to direct the service as for using their facilities but in most cases a reputable funeral firm will charge less when their facility is not utilized. Then, consider a modest casket. What does it matter if it seals? The Bible says we are already “present with the Lord.” Caskets are routinely made of 20 gauge steel, 18 gauge steel, hardwoods, copper and bronze. The best value is 20-gauge steel.  Hardwood caskets, copper and bronze are premium caskets.  If 50,000 Christians all saved just $2,000 on their funerals and gave the money to missions, we could build a one hundred million dollar hospital and college and pay cash!

Cemeteries

When early Christians died, they did what the land would allow them to do.  If the ground was soft, they dug a grave, if there were caves, they used them as a mausoleum, if the ground was hard and there were stones, the stones were piled on top of the deceased.  In the rare instance where they were crossing a sea, they were buried at sea. What should we do today? Veteran’s cemeteries are the best deal as they are absolutely free. To use a veterans cemetery you must meet the following criteria, “All honorably discharged veterans and their spouses are entitled to free grave space, markers and opening and closing.”  If you tried to purchase this today anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, it would be a minimum of $15,000 to $17,000. You earned this benefit, use it! If you are not a Veteran, we recommend the Calvary Cemetery on US 19 in Clearwater. The Catholic Archdiocese owns the cemetery and all who profess Christ are welcome, it is not just for our Catholic brothers and sisters.

Remember, Jesus was laid in a borrowed tomb. He didn’t have a funeral. Scripture says our bodies are like old clay pots, one day they won’t be needed (2 Corinthians 4). We are told to be wise with the resources God has given us. A Christian Funeral is a special service to say good bye until we see each other again. The body should be buried with loving care, just as Christ’s body was cared for lovingly (John 19:39-40). We should pay our respects, not our life savings.

Veterans Funeral Care is locally owned and Christian operated. Jim and Kim Rudolph have been members of Clearwater First Assembly of God since 1977.  Jimmy and Jordan Rudolph are members of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater.

– Jim Rudolph

Lindsay Faye Photography