Meeting Jesus at a Funeral

Written by: Hani Billan Posted on: June 9, 2018 Blog: Stories from the Galilee

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From Hani Billan:

Last week my uncle passed away. I’ve dealt with death in the family quite a bit in the last few years. Tradition requires certain things from relatives in our culture in such cases. And the closer the person is to the deceased more is expected. When someone dies, a funeral is held where people would go and offer condolences. After the funeral, the family of the deceased would open their homes, if big enough, for comforters to visit. Often homes are not enough, so they do that at the church hall. Men and women are separated - can you hear Tevye scream “tradition” already? - men comfort the men and women comfort the women. As men are seated they are offered traditional Arabic coffee: sour, resembling the taste of losing a loved one. Depending on the age of the deceased they might hold these comforting days longer. If it’s an old person or if it was expected it would be less than if someone young died and unexpectedly.

For me, being a close relative, I spent a lot of time greeting comforters and talking to them. while I sat there, I was approached by a young man who started asking me questions about my faith and what I believe. This young man comes for a traditional Christian background, so to him he was sort of interviewing an alien. And as I answered his questions about my faith he moved closer and closer to hear more. Growing up, he was told by the traditional church that we, Evangelicals, are another false religion. But as we talked walls were broken down and bridges were being built instead. As I broke eye contact I noticed that as we were conversing we attracted a group of young men around us who, at first, gathered to ear-drop on an argument and stayed for the Word of God that drew them in.

Life from death, beauty from ashes and hope in the middle of hopelessness. Be bold, stand up and share the hope you have inside with those around you. There is no right time to share the Gospel, all the time is the right time!

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