Meaning "a record or announcement of a death," especially in a newspaper, and including a brief biographical sketch, is from 1738. As an adjective, "relating to or recording a death," from 1828. A similar euphemism is in Old English cognate forðfaran "to die," literally "to go forth;" utsið "death," literally "going out, departure."
During ancient times, kings and pharaohs constructed objects and structures in an attempt to solidify their place in world history. Today, some people venture to memorialize lifetimes of fame and fortune. For instance, shrines are created by placing surnames on buildings.
When it comes to physical death, men are preoccupied with immortalizing earthly identities. A simple form of this concept comes via the obituary. For most of recorded history, public death notices were reserved only for "notable people.” However, the advent of printing presses gave the masses a perceived opportunity to mark personal spaces in the temporal world.
In our contemporary times, electronic obituaries are common. The modern format includes the deceased's passions, hobbies, and accomplishments. If obituaries were an app, they would definitely incorporate filters to present a flawless self-image for the user. The human heart is obsessed with a self-reflection that eliminates ”life’s wrinkles.”
Nevertheless, should we construct a masquerade at death? From a Christian viewpoint, I recently asked myself this and a few more questions about glorifying the name of Christ. What does humility look like when pointing to our Savior? What is the purpose of providing one last "selfie" when we pass?
Think about this...heaven is filled with “no-names” from this existence. Unknown saints who served others and left to unmarked graves see glory. They are received as children of God in heaven because they loved the Savior more than their own stature. So, what is in a name or accomplishments in this world? Answer: nothing at all. Only the name of Jesus matters. Besides, we must understand that everything in the world is passing away, human history is temporal.
Hopefully, I will have a lot more time in this life to point to Christ. But when physical death comes, a snapshot of myself and of Christ should reflect reality. Perhaps my wife or those in charge of my obituary should write the following—
He was a sinner saved by His Lord, Jesus Christ.
He was born into a fallen world on January 1, 1970, but his King chose him before the foundations of time. His value was generated by the love of Jesus Christ. He had no works or accomplishments in which he could boast.
During much of his life, he broke all of God’s commandments. If he could not break them in the physical environment, then he broke them within his heart. After he was saved, he mourned due to his human condition. By the Lord’s grace, he became more Christlike and began to understand humility. His sanctification road was empowered by the Lord, he could not take credit for his regeneration. And although he became a better man, he would stumble at times, but His Savior would continue to pick him up.
In the end, he understood his fragility. No one will remember his so-called career heights or his self-focused deeds. But God will remember the negligible amount of time he put forth to glorify Christ.
Despite himself, he has an Advocate who loves him. Today, he is in the presence of Jesus Christ forever. Glory be to God!
There is no remembrance of earlier things;
And also of the later things which will occur,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.