At Bunker’s funeral, I found myself sandwiched between two men who smelled strongly of smoke. As I listened to the stories about Bunker, his family was confident that he was in Heaven and that they would be reunited some day.
Heaven or Hell? Either one or the other is our destiny after death. One is delightful “Paradise” and the other insufferable fire and smoke.
I pondered what funerals would be like if those heading for Heaven sat on one side of the isle, like in weddings, and those heading to Hell sat on the other side? One side would be pleasantly perfumed while the other would carry a heavy stench of smoke from the pits of Hell.
As one enters the church, there may be a sign that reads:
“Non-smokers please sit on the left.
Smokers please sit on the right.
If you’re not sure, sit on the right.”
It would be curious to watch people determine where to sit.
My itchy nose and eyes brought me back to reality and to another question. Would I chose to sit in with the smokers if I knew they were smokers - or thieves, gossips, slanderers, liars, adulterers, druggies… Would I choose to be uncomfortable with being in the midst of the self-destructive habits of others so that a few may discover God’s forgiveness and freedom? Do I have compassion for those who stink of smoke? Or do I simple sit with my other pleasantly perfumed brothers and not even notice those who are lost?
PS – I am using the terms “smokers and non-smokers” as allegories. So if you smoke tobacco, know that I am not labeling you a smoker heading to Hell. If you are offended, then I suspect the Spirit is putting his divine finger on something else going on in your life.