I had a strange dream a few nights ago. A very strange dream, indeed. In my dream I was dead, and I was attending my own funeral.
As my coffin was being carried up the steps into St Peter’s Cathedral I drew close and walked alongside it.
The pallbearers could not see me, of course. My physical body was lying inside the wooden casket they were carrying. As for me, I could see everything vividly.
In my dream I knew I was dead. It all seemed perfectly natural.
I was not sad—why should I be sad? Some people appeared glum as they made their way into the cathedral, but I was cheerfully dead.
Being a long-time crossword addict, I supposed they would bury me 6 feet down and 3 across.
Seriously though, I wonder if I was being given a foretaste—a vision—of what occurs when people die. Perhaps it is a normal thing for dead people to attend their own funerals before they leave for the great beyond. This makes sense if, like me, they see death not as an end but as a new beginning.
My wife knew my list of favourite hymns and arranged for some of them to be sung at my funeral service.
Top of my list is ‘Amazing Grace’, a hymn I never tire of singing.
It reminds me that when any of us reach the after-life it will not be because of anything we have done or earned. It will be due to the utterly amazing gift of grace we receive from the Almighty.
Another hymn I deeply appreciate is ‘There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy’. This hymn spells out so much of what I believe about the nature of God. People place too many limits on the Almighty, and God is far more loving than we can ever imagine.
However, I will have a small problem with singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the afterlife.
If ever I am fortunate enough to meet the author, the Rev John Newton, I will feel obliged to confess to him that sometimes, while singing the first verse of his hymn, I substitute one word.
It occurs in the line ‘that saves a wretch like me’.
Sometimes, when thinking of God’s grace to me, I change the line to: ‘that saves a Reg like me.’
I am not being naughty or flippant when I make this alteration.
My motive is my realisation that Jesus has been—and is—my ultimate saviour.