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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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A DAY WITHOUT FUNERALS?

A doctor phoned a patient and said, "I have some bad news and some good news.  The bad news is that you have only 24 hours left to live." The patient replied, "That is bad news.  What could be worse?" The doctor answered, "I've been trying to reach you since yesterday." God has been trying to reach mankind for ages with the bad news that death will be a reality for all until Jesus Christ destroys it at the end of time.  Each day tens of thousands of people discover that there is no trick or technology or technique known to man that can indefinitely hold death at bay.  Hebrews 9:27 makes a stark statement that many people choose to ignore or try to forget- '. . it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." In spite of our aversion to death in modem times, modem people just keep on dying.

Recent fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has resulted in nearly 200 deaths, forcefully reminding us that much of the death in our world is self-inflicted.  A terrorist attack on the US battleship COLE last month killed 17 sailors.  Daily in the good old USA, 1000's of unborn but very alive babies are violently killed in a process we have chosen to call a choice, a killing process about which millions in our culture have become very casual and comfortable.  Besides this, annually in the US there are around 20,000 murders.  In reference to the ongoing cycle of bloodshed in the conflict in the Middle East, Shimon Peres (former prime minister of Israel) recently made a short but gripping statement which represents a universal human longing- "We pray for a day without funerals." (NEWSWEEK, 11-13-00, p 29)

Mankind has dreamed of a day without funerals since Cain killed his brother Abel.  Can we dare think of such a day in a world where death dominates and cemeteries dot the landscape?  The gospel brings hope for an endless day without funerals!  Revelation 21:4 dares to tell us that in the end, when God finally dwells with His people in the New Jerusalem, that He 'will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Woody Allen once said, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work.  I want to achieve it though not dying." The gospel says we will achieve immortality through Jesus' work of death, burial, and resurrection!  Thanks to Jesus, in Heaven there will be an endless day without funerals!

Dan Gulley
For the Smithville Church of Christ