I was in Florida in January of 2003. While walking around the Universal Theme Park everyone kept telling us to be watching for the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Unfortunately, I never was looking in the right place at the right time and missed the tell-tale exhaust plume. Tragically, it was the final launch of the Columbia which broke up on re-entry on February 1, 2003.
No one—not the crew, not mission control, and certainly not me—knew that their death sentence had been sealed due to the punctures in the insulating foam caused at the launch I missed watching. Thinking about that reminds me of Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:6, “The hour has come for my departure.”
After dealing with the heavy topic of death in the previous sermon I felt I owed it to my listeners to bring some levity into this sermon. Since Paul uses several euphemisms for death here I decided to provide a list of my own. It was received well enough. After a few of them I think people felt they had permission to laugh.
I do a lot of funerals. I have a few funeral sermons that I use and re-use on those occasions where I don’t know the deceased very well. This is one of the texts I’ve often preached. Preparing it for a general audience required a lot of re-working, though. I think the points are mostly the same, but the listeners are definitely in a different place.