Just got in from a funeral. Rather a good one. Everyone seemed to agree about that.
So, what’s a “good funeral”?
I suggest that for a funeral to be called “good”, the deceased has lived to a reasonably old age.
He or she has lived that life fully.
They’ve got involved with people.
They’ve invested time and energy in their family.
They’ve developed whatever gifts and abilities they have. They haven’t wasted anything.
This chap had, in fact, had two strokes – the second one led to his death – and had to be careful with his health.
But that didn’t stop him really giving himself to other people – family, friends and neighbours.
The church was crowded by people wanting to celebrate this life.
Lots of tributes, lots of laughter as well as tears. It had been a life well lived.
That’s what makes the news about the death of young people in Norway so shocking.
They hadn’t had time to develop their God-given abilities.
They hadn’t had time to invest much in other people, though some have been spoken of as lovely, caring youngsters.
That’s what makes those deaths so poignant and so unnecessary.
So people say “How can that happen? If there is a God, how can he allow that?”
First, if there isn’t a God, then you have to ask where the evil comes from (for it is evil, what happened).
If humans are just rational animals, then such behaviour doesn’t make any sense.
Especially if the killer appears to want to protect his fellow-countrymen – as he claimed at one point.
So let’s say that there is a God but He doesn’t care, that He just lets life come and go.
Can’t see the point of God in that case. It’s just chance.
And why should Christians talk so much about God sending His son to die so that humans could be released from something?
Doing that suggests that He loves the people He makes. Loves them very much.
In fact, He loves them so much that He has arranged it so that they make their own decisions, their own choices about how they want to live in the world.
He’s not a controlling God.
And humans seem to repeatedly make bad choices, to select the “not-God” options, as in “not loving, destructive, self-centred”.
It’s as though they couldn’t help themselves.
If you think of him at all, how do you imagine the Devil goes to work amongst human beings?
Nigel O’Dwyer has three children and leads a church in Goring.