Wednesday, March 24, 2021
What I have always known as a funeral or a memorial service now has a new name – Celebration of Life. It is a good change. As families and friends gather, the healing of their grief is aided by positive memories of their loved one’s life. At some point of the service someone delivers an official speech that commemorates the person’s life. It is called a eulogy.
The word eulogy is a Biblical word. In the Greek language it means “to speak well of.” In the Bible it is translated as the word BLESS.
When the crowds gathered to welcome the Messiah into Jerusalem, they eulogized Him. They cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”(John 12:13) The people understood that Jesus was worthy of being praised and honored. They spoke well of Him. They commemorated His words and His works. They celebrated His life while He was still alive.
The word “bless” is used some 375 times in the Bible. It sometimes refers to speaking well of someone, and other times it refers to cursing and complaining about others. I find it very difficult to conduct a funeral for someone whose life is not celebrated but cursed by the family.
Even worse is when people bless and curse the same person depending on the circumstances. Jesus experienced that in the five days prior to His crucifixion. The same people who eulogized Him as they waved palm branches loudly cursed Jesus just days later when He didn’t fulfill their expectations. The same people who blessed Jesus by declaring that He was the King of Israel became accomplices in His death.
How sad that we do the same. Out of one mouth we spout blessing and spew cursing. The half-brother of Jesus, James, knew this was a big problem for us. He wrote, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:9)
My friends, there is a severe problem in the church today. We can stand and sing the praises of God on Sunday and then sit in judgment of one another the rest of the week. We can rise from devotions and prayer where we sought the Lord and worshipped Him only to criticize, belittle, and hurt those the Lord loves. We can claim unity with Jesus only to segregate ourselves from His people who don’t serve our best interests. We must seek the power of the Holy Spirit to control our tongues. We must become people of blessing not cursing.
Please evaluate your life. Is it being lived as a living blessing to Jesus and to His people, or do you justify the coexistence of blessing and cursing? Let’s pray together for healing.
Yes, we bless on Sunday and throw epithets the rest of the week. That is not unity, not living together in harmony! Disagreeing can be done with respect.