A Celebration of Life

I didn’t know Randolph. Not really.

He and his wife sat across the table from my wife and me at a banquet five or ten years ago, and he entertained us with talk about his train. That’s what my wife tells me, anyhow. I honestly don’t remember.

Randolph died last week, and his funeral was on Saturday. I say “funeral” because that’s the traditional word for it, but the family chose to call it a celebration of life. I like that.

I suppose most funerals include eulogies, even if the deceased was highly unpopular. But Randolph appears to have been quite an outstanding man. One who was highly regarded. And he would have been the first one to credit God with helping him be the kind of man so many people admired and looked up to.

Not every part of a “celebration of life” is overtly  joyous, of course, but the pictures projected on the screen for the first portion of the service, the eulogy, the extremely upbeat choir anthem “Jerusalem,” and the congregational singing of the joyous hymn “Victory in Jesus” all worked together to make Randolph’s service a positive event.

That’s not unusual for a Christian funeral.  We believe the deceased is already in Heaven enjoying fellowship with his Lord and Savior. The body–in Randolph’s case, he had already been buried–is simply an empty shell. Although even the most devout of Christians will miss their friend and loved one, there’s nothing to grieve about. Not for his sake, anyhow.

Like you, I have no idea how much time I have left. At seventy, I know I’m closer to my earthly death than I was at sixty-nine. I hope and pray that God will continue to bless my earthly existence with meaning and significance. And that when I go, my service will be a time of celebration.

I’ve already made a video of me doing one of my original songs, “What Will You Leave Behind?” I want that to be played at my Celebration of Life. But that’s not a fun song. Maybe have them show a Youtube video of Chi Coltrane singing “Go Like Elijah.” (Watch it here.)

[NOTE: What timing! I wrote most of this Sunday afternoon. Sunday night I experienced severe chest and abdominal pains that sent me to the ER. My heart was fine. The doctor there thought it was reflux. I went to my PCP on Monday. He was more inclined to think it might be an intestinal bug. After I got home, his office called to say he wanted me to have an ultrasound–maybe gall bladder problems. As of the time I’m writing this, I’m scheduled for that this afternoon. I don’t know whether I’ll have results back soon enough to give you an update before posting this. But no matter what the problem proves to be, it’s been a very timely reminder that my body will continue to deteriorate. And I’m thankful for God’s comforting company every step of the way.]

What about you? What’s your view of funerals? Have you experienced the difference between a Christian Celebration of Life service and one that’s not? How about leaving a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,

On Being Remembered


(Leonardo’s “Last Supper” as portrayed in the Wax Museum at Luray Caverns;
click on thumbnail to see a larger picture)

We all know we’re going to die some day. Right?

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could know exactly when so we could gather our friends and family around the night before for one last special meal? A real celebration. All of our favorite foods–no counting calories–and we’d get to talk all we wanted to about everything we wanted to talk about because this would be the last time we knew people would be listening to us.

And to make the occasion even more special, we would make this request: whenever this group of special people eats together again, let it be in remembrance of us.

If you’re a Christian–maybe even if you’re simply familiar with the New Testament–you might think this idea sounds familiar.

And well it should. It’s my best effort at describing “The Lord’s Supper”–also known as “Communion” and “The Last Supper.”

Jesus’s death was eminent. And even though he’d been teaching these disciples for three years, He realized that they hadn’t caught on to some of His most important teachings. Like the fact He would be raised from the grave again.

This was His last chance to speak to them and try to prepare them for what He was about to experience. And what they could ultimately expect.

But it wasn’t just a time of teaching. It was a time of fellowship. The Bible doesn’t say anything about the lighter side of the Last Supper, but I’ll bet there was some cutting up before things turned serious. After all, this was a celebration of the Passover, and the Passover was a joyous time, because it celebrated the Children of Israel’s survival when the Angel of Death killed the firstborn of all other living creatures in Egypt.

But the Last Supper turned serious. And when Jesus told his followers to think about Him whenever they ate that kind of meal together in the future, they probably didn’t understand that He wouldn’t be with them…not physically.

The things Jesus told His disciples would happen all came true, and when He rose from the grave and ultimately ascended to Heaven, that gave a whole new significance to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper through the ages.

In my church, it’s a very reverent time. And that’s appropriate in some ways.

But it should be joyous as well.

Please share a comment.


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,