ArticlesPoetry Feb 5, 2018 The Best Wedding is a Funeral
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Creator and author,

Again we have an odd ti­tle. Sil­ly man you think. How can, in all the world, a wed­ding ever be equiv­a­lent to a fu­ner­al? A fu­ner­al is a place and time that re­volves around death. A wed­ding is a place and time that re­volves around new life. But then you think and say, wait a sec­ond. Are there not fu­ner­als where peo­ple re­joice and cel­e­brate the life that has passed? Think­ing even more deeply, we re­al­ize that part of the dread ex­pe­ri­enced at a fu­ner­al aris­es from the un­cer­tain life that awaits the liv­ing af­ter the pass­ing of the dead. An­oth­er name for this life af­ter a fu­ner­al is this thing we call grief.

Or con­sid­er the wed­ding. Oh so so hap­py we say. Let us dance and re­joice. Yet even the clas­sic wed­ding song Here Comes The Bride shares notes with the Danse Macabre. There­fore, the moth­ers at the wed­ding feast weep with joy and grief. For they re­mem­ber what we must not for­get: in the wed­ding, we are wit­ness­ing the death of two peo­ple as they are re­born into one. If ei­ther the woman or the man get­ting mar­ried re­fus­es to die then an im­per­cep­ti­ble crack forms in the crys­tal of the union. It is the be­gin­ning of a di­vorce and in the day of stress, the crys­tal frac­tures and shat­ters into dust. This re­fusal to be in union through death may man­i­fest dra­mat­i­cal­ly as adul­tery or wan­der­lust or what­ev­er else. But in re­al­i­ty it is root­ed in the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness in­stead pur­su­ing the death that pro­duces deep joy. And so when a cou­ple dwells on and idol­izes hap­pi­ness, they there­by guar­an­tee that they will nev­er ex­pe­ri­ence joy.

Bet­ter The Fu­ner­al

Is it wise then to dwell on death at a wed­ding? Hush now and lis­ten close­ly. Do you hear the echoes of king Solomon? “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourn­ing but the heart of fools in the house of mirth.” Ec­cle­si­astes 7:1-4 What a deep word! Now you may be­gin by say­ing that sure­ly Solomon is mis­tak­en. But if God has blessed, age and time will make you pause so that you may de­tect the truth in his words. To­day at church, I had oc­ca­sion to re­mem­ber again this great truth. But odd­ly enough the oc­ca­sion was a bap­tism, oth­er­wise known as the heav­en­ly wed­ding. Every­one right­ly re­joiced at this bap­tism. But when Solomon’s words came to mind, I thought, “If there is mirth here, then can any wis­dom be gained at this holy wed­ding?” The, of course, an­swer is yes. Be­cause this wed­ding is also a fu­ner­al.

Bap­tism is about our union with The Liv­ing God through Je­sus Christ. Yet like a wed­ding, your bap­tism marks your death to the world so that you may pur­sue a new life in Je­sus Christ. There­fore, bap­tism is an oc­ca­sion for joy by be­ing both a fu­ner­al and a wed­ding. In that mo­ment, we wit­ness The Lord Who died that He might be joined to His son. There we wit­ness a daugh­ter whose old life drowns in the wa­ter that she may emerge joined to her Lord.

And as we move out into the Chris­t­ian life, we dis­cov­er that every mo­ment is marked by this dy­nam­ic of dy­ing into life. The air of Eter­ni­ty is poi­son to the world. A taste of the Lord makes the world taste bit­ter and makes us taste bit­ter to the world Gala­tians 6:14. But of­ten in Chris­t­ian life, we are tempt­ed (yes! tempt­ed) to wrong­ly fo­cus on and pur­sue joy. This is the equiv­a­lent of think­ing to bake a cake with­out first even buy­ing the in­gre­di­ents. By do­ing this we set our­selves up for fail­ure. For she who will not die can­not re­main mar­ried. So also, the joys of heav­en are only at­tain­able by those who con­sis­tent­ly seek for ways to die to the world.

Joy from The Ash­es

So when you go to the next bap­tism, do as Solomon im­plores you: be­hold the man or woman choos­ing to die to the world. Only those who con­sis­tent­ly die into life pos­sess joy. But what am I talk­ing about? I speak so cav­a­lier­ly of go­ing to an­oth­er bap­tism. If you are a Chris­t­ian and feel a need for the re­ju­ve­na­tion of your faith, then it is pos­si­ble that you were nev­er right­ly present at your own bap­tism. It is pos­si­ble that you have been dwelling on the mirth of the wed­ding in­stead of med­i­tat­ing on the fu­ner­al. There­fore, you have been seek­ing the joy of His Sal­va­tion in the wrong way Psalms 51:12. It is not sur­pris­ing that you have thus far failed to re­gain it.

So why don’t you give Solomon a try? Stop dream­ing of the hap­pi­ness, rich­es and bless­ings of be­ing a Chris­t­ian as so many pop­u­lar church­es en­cour­age us to do to­day. Ac­cord­ing to Solomon such mirth­ful pop psy­chol­o­gy pro­duces in us the hearts and minds of fools. In­stead lis­ten to the Wis­dom of God through Solomon and let your mind be re­newed Ro­mans 12:1-2. Med­i­tate on your bap­tism ... that fu­ner­al where you died to the world. Dwell on and pur­sue the dai­ly death Je­sus says you must die. Deny your­self in or­der to obey Je­sus Christ. Take up again the cross you must bear Matthew 16:24-26. Do this, and like spring­time flower, your soul will again blos­som with the petals of eter­nal life.

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