A few of my words from the funeral of my mother-in-law, Daphne Murnane, who died on 29th April having lived for the last 4½ years in Holme and then Burton.
“What happens when I die?” Google street-view can tell you what it would be like to walk down a street on the other side of the world but who can tell you what it will be like to travel the very short distance from life to death?
Try answering this question first: “What happened when Jesus died?” On that night, after a last meal with his disciples, Jesus told them not to be troubled; he was going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for them. Do we imagine Jesus like a ghostly hotel-keeper cleaning the rooms and making the beds in his heavenly Father’s house? That’s not what Jesus means. He does not get a place ready by what he does after death but by the way that he dies.
God’s Son will die in the place of others, taking on himself the punishment that they deserve for their hard-hearted stubbornness towards him and his Father and all the foolishness and wickedness that flows from that. Going first to the cross, he will open the way to his Father for others. Jesus doesn’t show them the way or tell them about the way. The way to the Father is not a map or a set of directions, but a person. Jesus says, “I am the way … no-one comes to the Father except through me.”
To move the Space Shuttle between different NASA sites they strapped it to the top of a 747. If you want to go to the place where Jesus has gone then you need to be strapped to him: depending on his cross for your rescue, living with him as your boss.
On the morning of Daphne’s operation she was reading Psalm 31 where David cries out, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD.” Years later Jesus spoke those same words from the cross. And they were in Daphne’s mind in the last week of her life because without arrogance she could say with confidence, “Where Jesus has gone, I – by his grace and kindness – will surely follow.”