I’ve been grieving the loss of Bob Webber, both on the faculty here and in my own personal day to day engagements. And so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to going to last nights’s funeral/memorial service for Bob Webber. Anytime you go to a funeral of someone you care for, who you feel like you were with just a few days ago, it is sobering. You’re letting go of some good times. You’re confronting mortality.
Yet as I processed down to the front with the Northern Seminary and Wheaton Co. faculty, I got that I was in for something much more. For this service in true Bob Webber style, placed Bob’s death unabashedly into the context of God’s Story and where God is taking the world (Bob an Joanne planned the funeral before his death). It was in Bob’s words, about the magnitude of God and what He is doing. One of the highlights was participating in the Eucharist while singing together “I am the BREAD OF LIFE.” I came away from this memorial-funeral with a sense of courage towards death and uncertainty.
Another highlight was opening the memorial program and seeing an “almost personal” note from Bob written to all of us gathering for the memorial. It was heartening. Here are these words from Bob to us on the occasion of his funeral.
As a Christian I have always believed in Christ as the Victor over sin and death. I believe that Christ was the Second Adam, sent to this earth as God Incarnate, suffered death, was buried and rose from the dead to restore the entire creation. I believe that it is God who narrates the entire world and creation, from start to finish. Consequently, I have no fear of death although I do fear the process.
Today, there are literally hundreds of different styles one can follow and model for a funeral. However, historic Christian funerals were always about God. I was able to think about my own funeral and truly want it to be about God who created this world, defeated Satan at the cross and rose victorious over death and grave.
Today we begin with several eulogies, then when those are done, the real funeral begins and it’s all about God. I want my funeral to be a testimony to the God who raises us from hopelressness and blesses us with new life in Him.
I hope these few words help to explain why my funeral is being done in a more ancient than modern way.
The Lord be with you!