When Sir Winston Churchill died in 1965, his funeral service was conducted according to a plan he had written himself. The service, based on the eloquent Anglican liturgy, was conducted in the massive London landmark, Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Many of the great hymns of the church were included along with a final musical surprise that was a most fitting final touch to the earthly life of this soldier-statesman.
Saint Paul’s Cathedral has a massive central dome that rises 365 feet over the intersection of the cross-shaped floor. Churchill had instructed that a bugler, positioned high in the dome, should play “Taps,” the universally recognized military signal for the ending of the day, following the benediction. But after this fitting tribute to Churchill the soldier, Churchill the saint got the final word. For as the last note of “Taps” faded away, another bugler, positioned on the other side of the great dome, broke into “Reveille”--“It’s time to get up, It’s time to get up, It’s time to get up in the morning!” This was Winston Churchill’s creative way of testifying to his belief that after a Christian dies, he will live again.
Churchill’s funeral provided an answer to a question posed by an Old Testament saint who was ready to plan his own funeral. Job’s life had gone from riches to ruin according to the plan of God. Job didn’t know that ruin was to be followed by restoration--all he could see and feel was his very life ebbing away as he searched for answers to his misfortune. He finally wondered if it wouldn’t be better just to die and hope that God would raise him back to life later. Thus his question that has been heard on more deathbeds than any other: “If a man dies, will he live again?”
The bridge between Job’s wonder and Churchill’s confidence is the person of Jesus Christ. On the day he raised Lazarus from the dead, he said, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Jesus’ answer to Job’s question has given confidence to the dying for 2,000 years. Everyone will hear “Taps,” and those who believe will hear “Reveille” as well.
God’s Promise to You: “Those who believe in my Son continue to live after they die.”
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