ImageThere is a story that when Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian author of War and Peace, and Anna Karenina, was getting old he asked one of his sons to make sure that he will not be placed in a coffin until three days after his death.  The reason for that was his fear of enclosed spaces and the possibility that his breathing will stop for a while and he will be declared dead.  In a reductionistic fashion, he did not want to be buried alive.

The cerebral Tolstoy knew better, yet his emotions got the better of him.  In matters of life and death, emotions were ruling his life.

I find myself giving counsel to many people about how they should be laid to rest. All the churches now do not have a problem with either form of interment – burial in the ground or cremation.  Logically, I do not see a problem.  Theologically, there is no problem.  In the day of resurrection it will not be a problem.  God is able to bring back to life what we have placed in the earth or what we have scattered in the ocean.  Yet, when somebody asks me what I am going to do, I am a solid traditionalist.  My emotions get in the way and they dominate my thinking.

I attended a meeting in which I was told that I should sign my driver’s license stating that in case of accident, I am willing to give my organs away.  I can understand the need, I can see the importance, but when my license was renewed, I did not sign that portion.  I got called a couple of interesting names by some of my friends, but my emotions are too strong.

(In fact, I heard a presentation, which I do not think that was well-substantiated, that Paul was presenting the return of the Lord Jesus Christ in his lifetime, because he was not that enthusiastic about being separated from his body.)

Now I have some friends whose emotions are ten miles behind their minds.  They state the facts, draw rational conclusions and proceed.  I was with a family when a decision was made to take their parent off of the machines that kept their beloved one alive.  The decision was made and they walked out.  I wanted to talk some more, I wanted to get some emotions out into the air, but there was nothing there.

God is our maker, and he weaved our patterns of behavior. Some of us are more emotional than others. Some of us are more cerebral. One is not better than the other.  We just have to get used to our way of thinking or emoting and accept one another with any condemnation. Whichever way we choose, we should act prayerfully in accordance with God’s will.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...