Today, I had one of those “opportunities.” There was absolutely no way anyone was going to be preaching this fellow into heaven. He even claimed to be a believer... “Everyone’s gotta believe in something, I believe I’ll have another beer.”
The family, good people, not good Christians though, asked me to honor the old fellow’s wishes and not get “too into the religious stuff, definitely no invitation.” (They have seen how I do it at other send offs in the past).
I agreed with the dearly departed, I have no use for religion either. I get sick of the money grubbing, the false airs, the side-show antics and the micro-managing of people’s lives by hypocrites and snake oil salesmen better fitted for Vaudeville than the pulpit.
He and I agreed when I would visit with him, I wouldn’t drink his beer and he wouldn’t drink my “Kool-Aid.” So, we drank coffee together instead.
Poor old chap had been burned pretty badly by religion, so he turned to drink instead. It never judged him, never demanded much but to be appreciated and laughed with and about.
But all that does little good when life is over and eternity begins. The old gent wrote a really good poem very late one sleepless night about his conception of the afterlife that pretty much mirrors the presentation of the heaven of the Bible (minus the drinking and heck-raising reminiscence).
Hopes are that he got a reservation for that special place in his final few days on earth when we gave him the gospel gun barrel straight. Great tears pooled in his cavernous, sunken eye sockets. He indicated he knew what he needed to do if he had any hope of making it to God’s glory.
As per the funeral itself, loved ones and friends left with the clear knowledge that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They also know who it is in the family they can turn to when they are ready to receive the Lord.