“Rest In Peace”, such a short idiomatic expression. So often we use it in our lives for people who have departed from this abode.
We hear the news of a demise of a person, and it becomes so easy to just spell out this short epitaph to convey our condolences. Sometimes it’s not even those three petite words that we use, we just say R.I.P.
We all would know that this expression wishes eternal rest and peace to someone who has died. Rest to the departed body and peace to the departed soul, is what we may mean when we say this. Some of us would even know a bit further than this, that it is derived from the Latin blessing, “Requiescat in pace”, literally meaning, “May he begin to rest in peace”.
All the scriptures in the world are replete with stories and anecdotes that physical death is not the end and that after the end of the physical life on this planet, there are two options for every living being; heaven or hell. These scriptures also describe heaven as the abode of rest and hell as a dwelling of torment.
Whenever someone dies, we so often see people lauding the dead with compliments. “God needed another Angel in heaven and so has taken him away” or “She is an Angel now” are so commonly heard at such a time.
While glorifying the dead, how often do we hear the bromide, “She has gone to a better place now” which are nothing better than trite statements intended only to soothe and placate without even the slightest honest thought that she might actually be in a worse place.
Maybe because the thought of death can be frightening, people may have invented such platitudes with which to comfort themselves which surely has nothing to do with what the Scriptures really explain.
I find it so hypocritical that people who had never been pious in their lives suddenly grow religious at a funeral. I find it so hilarious that these people try to assure themselves and others that regardless of the deceased’s relationship with morality or reverence while on Earth, he or she is surely in heaven now.
When we breathe our last, there is no way we can inform the people in our lives that we have cried out to God for forgiveness in our last moments as did the thief on the cross as mentioned in the Bible, or even whether God has really heard our repentance and taken us to heaven to rest in peace.
All these stories in the Scriptures reach us to just one conclusion, that how we lead our earthly life decides whether we are led to heaven or hell in our after-life.
Let us understand that the best gift we can give our loved ones is to let them know by the way we spend our lives here on Earth, where we will be spending eternity.