A Bulletproof Faith – In-Your-Face Sermon
Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
I went to my first black funeral when I was 16. A friend of mine, Clarence, had died. From the pulpit the pastor talked about the resurrection in beautiful terms. Then he descended from the pulpit, went to the family, and comforted them from John 14: “Let not your heart be troubled … Clarence has gone to heavenly mansions.”
Then for the last 20 minutes he preached to the open casket. “Clarence! Clarence!” He yelled at the corpse with such authority, I wouldn’t have been surprised had there been an answer.
“Clarence,” he said, “there were a lot of things we should have said to you but never did. You got away too fast, Clarence.” He went down this litany of commendable things Clarence had done for people. When he finished, he said, “That’s it, Clarence. There’s nothing more to say. Goodnight, Clarence.” Grabbing the casket lid, he slammed it shut.
Lifting his head with a smile, he concluded, “Goodnight, Clarence, because I know that God is going to give you a good morning.” The choir started singing “On that great getting-up morning we shall rise.” We were dancing in the aisles and hugging each other with the joy of the Lord, because for us there was no sting to death.
—Tony Campolo in Preaching Today
My Response: Does sobs of pain over death being overwhelmed by cheers of victory strike you as plausible?
Thought to Apply: So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side. —John Bunyan
Adapted from Preaching Today (212).