Tonight I was watching a great TV show. I know it sounds weird, but I basically judge a show on its willingness to kill main characters, it lets me know the story is more important than an actors contract. But I digress.
In said show someone died, someone important, and it was hinted that at the funeral they played "Amazing Grace". And I started thinking. Unfortunately, being in ministry I've been to a few funerals, and at almost every single one they have played that song.
But why? Why that song? I know it's pretty and all, but it's a song of life. A song of hope. But then it struck me. Because we've done to this amazing hymn what we've done to so many things in Christendom. It's a religious afterthought.
I'll explain. There are many people who say they are Christian. They don't live like it, they don't even really believe it, but for some reason, upbringing, heritage, even just being American, they feel they are "Christian". But deep down inside they know they are not. And the problem with death is it's final. There's no turning back. And I think the people around them know this too. So what do you do? Try to cram as much religion into the last moments and memories of their life so we feel they at least did something. Last rights, last prayers, sing amazing grace, a eulogy that mentions Jesus, something, anything.
The problem is following Christ cannot be an afterthought. You can't wait until the last minute (or later) and try to influence God or others about where you stand. Playing Amazing Grace at your funeral doesn't make up for all the times you should have been exercising Amazing Grace to others, or even accepting that Amazing Grace for yourself.
Let's not wait until the last minute for God. Let's not try to cram as much Jesus into the last moments of our lives to somehow make up for all the years before. Many times Jesus tried to explain that God is the God of the living, not the dead. So let's give Him our lives, not our deaths.