Think of the most ornery cuss of a person you know. This is a person no one likes because he is mean to everyone. There isn’t a nice streak in him, or if there is, he never shows it. He is anti-social. He picks an argument with everyone. He’s an older person, in the last stage of his life. He’s fallen ill, and that has only made him madder. If you are nice to him, he will be even meaner back. This guy has accomplished nothing with his life except to make enemies. He’s simply waiting to die, and to him, and anyone who knows him, his death won’t come a moment too soon.
There is no sympathy for him. Even people who seem to be able to find the silver lining in everything cannot find it for this guy. Nobody wants to admit it, but his passing will be worth celebrating, because no one will have to encounter this despicable person anymore.
To the surprise of no one, he is an atheist. If he believed there was a God, he would obviously be pissed off at Him, but he’s not going to bother with that. He just believes there is nothing. There is no one there. At the end of life, there is nothing worth anything. There was no plan, no design, nothing to make sense out of anything. In fact, it’s all a farce — one big bad joke on the human race. Life is a waste of time, and his life was not worth living. He actually thinks he is smarter than everyone else because he knows this, making a total mockery of anyone who has any hope.
Anyone who tries to talk him out of any of these negative beliefs of his gets shouted down. He is ruthless about this. If he gets any pleasure in life, it is the sick pleasure he gets from crushing anyone who believes.
Now imagine this: this ornery person passes away, and you are asked to conduct his funeral, or at least to say a few words in memory of him; what would you do? What would you say? With his family members all around you, what shred of hope could you give them? How could you keep this event from being either one big hopeless downer, or one magical trip to Fantasyland?
I’m asking you this because there is such a person; he is days away from death; I will probably be asked to officiate the event in some way; and I don’t have a clue about what I am going to do. So I am asking you, and I am serious. What would you do? Tell me, because I need to know.