On a beautiful spring day in 1977, my assistant, Specialist Fourth Class Tim Joiner, and I, a U.S. Army chaplain, were “on the circuit,” visiting our men at one of the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade’s scattered missile sites in the Republic of South Korea.
by Jack E. Brown
After a 2 and a half-hour drive along the coast, we were nearing our destination. As we approached the remote site, we noticed a Korean funeral procession coming up a dirt road to our immediate right. We pulled over to the side of the road and got out of our jeep to observe. We were deeply moved by what we saw and heard.
In such a Korean funeral procession, the casket is borne upon the shoulders of the pallbearers as the deceased is carried to the gravesite, not unlike the funeral procession Jesus encountered during His Galilean ministry (Luke 7:11-17). The Korean pallbearers, young men, approximately 20 to 25 years of age, were actually jogging along, smiling, singing, and waving as they passed. Yes, they were smiling and singing the old gospel song, “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” What a sight this was! And what a moving testimony of the power of Christ and the promise of heaven.
Fortunately, I had my camera and I took two photographs of this powerful and contemporary testimony of living faith. Here was a Christian funeral in (at that time) a predominantly Buddhist land, a funeral in which the good news of Jesus Christ was being proclaimed by these happy Christians. Their deceased friend was with the Lord, and they were rejoicing.
“Jesus said …, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever’” (John 11:25-26).
Those young men preached a powerful sermon to us and to all others who saw and heard them along their route. They preached the twin themes of Christian promise and Christian proclamation. “Because I live, you will live too” (John 14:19). It was the message of Easter: Jesus lives!
Jack E. Brown and his wife, Jean, reside in Dublin, Ga. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
This article originally appeared in the April, 2012 issue of Mature Living. Subscribe