A Tale of Two Funerals
I preached two funerals today.
The first funeral was for a man who devoted his life to serving the Lord, and caring for his family. His funeral was attended by kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors, and members of his church family. In fact, several of his church family took off work just to sing at his service and serve food to his loved ones. As for me, I was his pastor and he was my friend. We had a genuine relationship. Thus, in my remarks when I spoke of his personality, character, and talents I spoke from experience. I knew him. I cared about him.
The second funeral was for a woman I had never met. Her obituary stated she attended a local church, but her appearances must have been few and far between for the funeral home had to call me to preach her funeral. She had no formal service, just a small gathering of people at the graveside. Noticeably absent from the service was her only son. I do not know why he wasn't there, and did not want to ask. At one point in my remarks, I had to give my notes a quick glance to make sure I was saying the correct name. I knew nothing of her. I still don't have the first clue what she even looked like. There were no stories to share. No personality quirks about which we could all share a smile. And most sadly, because I didn't know her, no assurances that she was in Heaven with the Lord, or that they would ever see her again. I was not a pastor at this service. Only a hired gun. Someone to say a few comforting words, read the 23rd Psalm, and say a prayer. Any random Joe off the street could have done the same thing. I don't think it's supposed to be that way.
Who will preach your funeral?