Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Funerals for the Faithless

Most preachers I know say they would rather preside over ten funerals than one wedding. Brides-to-be and mothers of brides-to-be make most weddings miserable for a pastor. The exception to that rule is the funeral of an unbeliever. Few exercises are more difficult for a minister than dancing around the reality of a pagan grandfather's final resting place. The pastor wants to give comfort to a grieving family while the prophet wants to warn those left behind to change their ways before their fate is similarly sealed.

I attended one such funeral yesterday. The preacher did an admirable job. His opening line was "_______ loved nature. _______ loved people." What a tragedy. God forbid that someone could ever say of me, "Frank loved nature, and Frank loved people," without being able to say, "Frank loved Jesus."

You can love nature all you want. You can be everyone's friend of years and friend of tears. But, if you don't love Jesus, death is no welcome friend.

I desperately hope that, sometime during our recently departed friend's brief illness, he was able to connect with Christ in a redemptive way. I don't know if he did; I guess I won't know until I meet Jesus face to face. I do know this: I'm not going to wait. I'm pleading the blood of Christ today and everyday. I count on Jesus' mercy and grace to forgive my sin.

When some pastor (perhaps my son) sermonizes on my burial day, it will be the easiest funeral he has ever preached. "Frank loved Jesus; he loved his family; Frank is in Heaven. Now let's go back to the church and eat ham and scalloped potatoes."


Anonymous said...

I AGREE! The most difficult funeral to speak at is the "funerals for the faithless." It's very sad indeed to try to offer some kind of hope to those who have no spiritual concept of hope.

However, equally difficult is the funeral of the "church-goer" who has not matured or ever developed their faith. One lady I encountered in a church many years ago--had a problem with every pastor that she had ever had met. I found this intriguing.

As she was telling me about another problem that she had with another pastor...I just had to ask her, "I'm wondering if it would be beneficial for you to befriend at least one pastor before you die--I mean, a pastor will, after all, have the last word at your funeral."

She stopped complaining, and you know what? I don't remember her ever talking about problems with pastors again. But then again, I wasn't asked to do her funeral when she passed away a couple years ago.

Hmmm, I wonder why? And I probably would have done it for free!

Fred Lab said...

I agree, however I hope they serve turkey. Love Ya Buddy