March 29, 2004
A Children's Time During a Funeral
Reverend Linda Yates
Note 1: I don't usually ask children to come forward during this time because they are usually apprehensive and some may have no church experience and thus may find the whole church setting daunting.
Note 2: I have large pictures that are brightly painted onto canvas boards that I use for this story. They depict varying stages of gestation and birth. I come down and stand in front of the coffin or urn to do this. Sometimes I get a choir member to come down and hold up the pictures so I can be hands free to talk about them.
You know, grown ups have lots of different ways of talking about dying and what happens to us after we die. We sometimes believe different things. I am going to share with you what I think happens but I would like you to discuss what I say later with the person who takes care of you or someone else you love and trust. That way you can find out what they believe and maybe you can share with them what you believe.
I believe that our existence happens in three stages. First, there is the time when we are in our mother's tummies. That is what I will call the first world. Does anyone remember being in their mummies tummies? (You would be surprised at the number of young children who say that they can!!) Well, it's really nice in there. It's warm. In fact it is the perfect temperature for you because it is the same temperature as your Mom's body. Not too warm and not too cold. You don't need clothes because you don't need to keep warm. It's not too bright in there and it's not too dark. You don't have to worry about eating anything because your mom's body gives you what you need to grow and live in there so you don't get ever hungry. You have everything you require. You don't even need to breathe!! Your mom even does that for you! So, what do you do in there? You swim around and grow. You sleep and rest and exercise your growing arms and legs. It's pretty nice in there. So then, you grow and grow and grow. But.....towards the end of eight months of growing it starts to get pretty cramped. You are getting big! Towards the end of 9 months it is down right uncomfortable! You just ask any mom! Then your Mom's body gets ready for you to be born into this world, which I call the second world. Do you think a baby can imagine what will happen after it is born? Of course not, because it is just a baby for starters. Babies don't understand a lot of things. And secondly because it has never been to this, the second world, our world here and now, it can't imagine what it will be like.
Then the day comes when you are born. It is not fun being born. In fact, it is a lot of work, for both the Mom and the baby. Your body is squeezed a little bit when you are coming out but I don't think it hurts you very much. But you certainly aren't prepared for what comes next because suddenly you are experiencing some very unpleasant sensations. First, it feels cold because you just left the warmth of your mom's body. And there are very bright lights! And then you have to breathe, of all things! So you take in a great big breath which is something new and a little uncomfortable. You might begin to cry. But in all this discomfort in this strange new world, this second world, there is something to make all of it okay. The doctor or nurse who has you in their hands, wraps you up in a warm blanket and places you in the arms of someone who loves you. Someone who will care for you. Someone who is absolutely delighted that you have come into this world. And that is what makes being born and leaving the first world okay. Even though you are a baby and don't know what to expect, even babies understand the really important things in life like when someone loves them and cares for them.
Now, God intends for us to live a long time in this second world that we all live in right now. But we don't live here forever do we? When we grow old, our bodies wear out and then we die. Sometimes our bodies get diseases and we have to die before we get old. That makes God sad but sometimes it happens. Sometimes our bodies have accidents that break them inside so badly that the body can't live anymore and then we die before we get old. That makes God sad too. That is why God sent Jesus to heal people a long time ago. When any of these things happen, the life leaves our bodies and then we leave this world and go into the next world, what I am calling today the third world. Now just like when we leave our mothers bodies and come into this world, going into the third world can be hard work. Dying can be uncomfortable and take lots of work. Just like when we are babies we can not really imagine what the next world will be like after we die. We just know that it is there. One thing that Jesus did tell us though is that in the next world, God is waiting for us - waiting to hold us in a special loving way that we can't know or describe. Just like when you left your Mom's body and there were people waiting to hold you and love you, so we know that God waits to love us in a new way in the next world. Someday after we all die we will all be together in God's next world. It is a promise God has made. God always keeps promises.
Reverend Linda Yates
- Available from Northern Spirit Publications, c/o Superior Medical Limited
520 champagne Dr.
- Pamphlets for Children:
- Talking With Your Kids : About Death and Life
Talking With Your Kids : When a Grandparent Dies
Talking With Your Kids : Serious Illness In the Family
Talking With Your Kids : The Death of a Parent
Talking With Your Kids : About Funerals
Sad Isn't Bad: When Someone You Love Dies
Waterbugs and Dragon Flies
- Pamphlets for Teens:
- Talking With Your Teens : About Teen Suicide
Suicide: When It Happens to Someone You Know
Grieving: when You Lose Someone Close
When Life Hurts Too Much: Grief
When Cancer Hits Home
When Your Parent Dies