I have always remembered the first funeral I attended. I was in my early teens and a friend of my parents passed away. I remember sitting in the church looking at the casket and thought how horrible it was that, when I die, I will be put into a box that was going to be buried in a hole in the ground.
I didn’t think about it often, but every once in a while it was there in my mind.
In my late teens, I discovered cremation, and while I wasn’t crazy about being cremated and being turned into ashes, it was infinitely better then burial.
Growing up with a Catholic mom and Protestant dad, I went to Sunday school, where I learned about Jesus. It became a habit to pray before I went to sleep, and if troubles came my way during the day, I was quick to pray. But if I had a good day, I was just as quick not to pray.
In my 20s, I met the person who would change my life and many of my ideas forever. His name is Jesus Christ.
I felt the strongest desire in my heart to get to know Him instead of just knowing about Him.
I went to the Catholic church.
It was still the time that an adult received catechism from a priest and I was baptized into the Catholic church.
I really love my Catholic faith, but I believe that it is not about being Catholic. Anyone who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and trusts in Him will go to Heaven.
I have learned that you cannot love something you really do not know and you will not follow someone you do not love.
In fact, Jesus said the same thing (John 14:21-24).
A personal Jesus is one with whom we can enter into a relationship.
I have found there is no greater happiness than having a personal and intimate relationship with the God of all creation and there is no greater privilege than knowing that this Almighty, ever-living God is also a loving Father.
I have also learned that no believer should be wondering what happens after death. They should be sure. It not only gives one peace, but also comfort to know that they will be with the Lord if that is their choice because we choose where we will spend eternity.
With the coming of Jesus Christ, a sentence is carried out, or judgment is carried out (John 9:39). This means that humanity begins to be divided, because all must take a position in respect to Him.
There is nothing that any one of us can ever do to reach Heaven on our own because we are all sinners. But Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins. He is the Savior. He is my Savior.
About a dozen years ago, my husband and I invested in a small piece of real estate, two graves, side by side. One day I will take off my overcoat, which is my body, and that will be put in that box and buried in that hole in the ground. But I won’t be there. I will be with the Lord.
Léni Vandersteen is a ministry leader at St. Luke’s Church.