Jack was both a master craftsmen and very careful with his money. Since he didn’t appreciate spending the high cost of a manufactured casket, he decided to build his own.
Yesterday I had the privilege to officiate the burial of my dear friend and World War II veteran Jack Drury. As I stood at the head of the casket there, I recognized his service was a first. In my almost twenty-five years of pastoring and as far back as I can remember, I had never buried someone in a homemade casket.
Jack was both a master craftsmen and very careful with his money. Since he didn’t appreciate spending the high cost of a manufactured casket, he decided to build his own. Simple. Beautiful. Smelled incredible. All for $70.00.
He made his casket out of cedar. Growing up in Kentucky, I’ve seen my share of cedar chests. I love their smell. Jack’s casket had the same aroma and beautiful milled look of the cedar. Elegantly made but simple.
One other noteworthy observation concerning my thought as I stood at the casket. Kelly and I dated four years during college before we were married. I remember how precious it was for her when her dad and mom gave her a hope chest for Christmas. Thirty years later we still have it. She was so sweet as she placed items in her hope chest for the promised, future day we would be united in marriage.
As I stood there, the combination of the look, the smell, and the past experience all combined to give me this thought: this homemade casket is more like a hope chest than it is a casket.
Why is it more like a hope chest than it is a casket?
As I stood there, with the smell, feel, and look of the casket different than any I’ve seen in my life, it opened up my mind’s eye in a way a manufactured casket never has. I thought to myself, “Today we lay Jack’s body in the ground. Not Jack, he’s already enjoying heaven. But his body. It will lay here in one form or another until Jesus comes back. What incredible hope!“
You see the Bible teaches in passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that when Christians are resurrected at Christ’s return, they are given glorified bodies similar to Jesus’ resurrected body. Notice the texts.