A Buddhist Funeral
February 9, 2021
“And whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:26a, NIV).
I had never been to a Buddhist funeral. The deceased was the father of one of my new fellows. When I arrived, my fellow greeted me and asked if I wanted to light some incense for her father. I said I would, out of respect for him and love for her. I placed the first incense before a picture of young Buddha. I did not bow to him as those before me but placed a burning stick into the small gravel bowl in respect for a great philosopher. The second incense I placed before a picture of the deceased and bowed my head asking God for blessings on his family.
How do we show respect for another’s religious faith without suggesting that their faith is true? This young fellow lost her father. Last year another fellow, who is Muslim, lost a wife and child. I care deeply for both of them.
Both funerals were different. Both included a recognition of lives well lived, of loved ones lost; and both accepted in somber tones, a resignation to the will of God, though the concept of God is more complex for those who follow the Buddhist philosophy.
I truly care for these friends who have lost so much, but my love for them does not change the truth of life: Jesus died for our sins and those who commit to him as Lord will never die.
This truth of life and my love for these fellows should somehow be linked together in action. Only God knows the proper way and moment for me to speak of Christ to those who have lost loved ones without Jesus. A funeral is probably not the right time and place.
But then, when is?
Loosen my tongue, so that Your Spirit is free to shout Your name, so that those who die may live again.