Would you like to attend your own funeral?

Um, doesn’t everyone attend their own funeral?

Well, yes, technically they do, but it’s rare for people to experience what Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn did. In the classic Mark Twain novel, the townspeople thought the boys were dead. They gathered at the church to mourn and praise the boys, who were actually sitting in the church gallery listening to the whole service.

One man in China arranged his own funeral, even though he was quite healthy and alive. He just wanted to know who would attend.

But it’s a trend in South Korea I want to focus on. The Hyowon Healing Center in Seoul offers a mock funeral service as a way to better appreciate life. Over a four year period, about 15,000 people have done the following:

  • They sit in a room next to a coffin.
  • They write out a last will and testament.
  • They put on a burial shroud and lie down in the coffin.
  • A grim-looking man enters and hammers the coffin shut.
  • They lie in total darkness for ten minutes. (The coffins do have an air supply.)
  • After ten minutes, the lid is pried open, and the owner of the center says:

“Now, you have shed your old self. You are reborn to have a fresh start!”

You’re wondering, like I am, why someone would do this.

  • People with suicidal tendencies hope it will dispel those thoughts.
  • Terminally-ill people hope it will help them prepare for the end.
  • Companies send their employees as a part of a motivational exercise. Motivate them to do what? [Source]

I can’t help but question its effectiveness. Going through a mock funeral in hopes of shedding your old self and starting anew is a fantasy. These people go back home to the same lives, the same jobs, the same relationships, the same … well, everything. It’s only a mind-game, and it won’t last.

I am highly in favor of shedding the old self, but it won’t happen from anything external like a mock funeral. It must come from inside of us.

  • “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
  • I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
  • For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3).

Death is the key to experiencing the new life—the abundant life—we want. But this death is tied to finding life in Christ. To turn to Christ and the life He offers, we must:

  • Die to sin
  • Die to self
  • Die to our own wants and wishes
  • Die to everything we hold dear

Once we die to all these things, Christ raises us up. He does it; all we must do is be willing for Him to do it. Only Jesus—not some Korean healing center—can say:

“Now, you have shed your old self. You are reborn to have a fresh start!”

What do you need to in order to more fully experience life in Christ?

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Related post: Balancing the Abundant Life with Dying