Back in 1994, Gary Thomas of Christianity Today wrote an article about the death of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. In it, he explained that when Brezhnev died, Vice President George Bush was sent to represent our nation at the funeral. Later, Vice President Bush shared that as the civil ceremony came to an end, Brezhnev’s widow stood motionless before his coffin for some time. Then, just as the soldiers were about to close the lid, she performed one of the greatest acts of courage and hope ever committed: there, in the world’s great citadel of secularism, surrounded by the highest ranking officials of their atheistic government, she quietly reached down and slowly made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest.
In that moment, as she looked upon the lifeless body of the man who had been the leader of the world’s greatest communist nation, she desperately hoped that he had been all wrong; that there was another life beyond this one made possible by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and that this same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.
As Jesus was going to the funeral of a dear friend, he spoke to his friend’s sister saying, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11: 25,26).
“Oh, Loving Father, we thank you for the blessed hope you have given us in Jesus. Grant us the grace to turn to Him in faith, trusting in His death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we may live forevermore. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”