Friday, June 15, 2007

Funerals

I've often said that I'd rather have a funeral than a wedding. Why? Many pastors can relate to this situation. In the case of a funeral you know what you are dealing with and, if you have been diligent in your duties, you know what is the faith of the person you are burying. In general, the pastor has the confidence that the deceased is in heaven. A wedding is a beginning of more opportunity to sin in this world. And though we pray for God's preservation on a marriage, we all know the detestation that sin and Satan can wreak upon a marriage.

But I don't say that any more. I've had too many funerals.

Maggie B's mother, Patricia, died Sunday. She had terminal cancer, but even so, this was much sooner than was expected. Please keep Maggie, Lonny, and their family in you prayers.

Edwin H. died this week. His funeral is Saturday morning. Please keep his wife, Stella, and their family in your prayers.

This parish has had a lot of funerals this year. Each one takes a bite out of me because I know and love each of those whom I am burying.

Corella, thank you for your email and your kind words. Corella emailed me because she also took note of the number of people I've had to bury in the past few months, including her mother.

This might seem a bit disjointed in logic, but my wife, Mary, and I watched the PBS movie for Jane Eyre. In the story when Jane is a child at a deplorable private school, her best friend dies of TB. There is a scene where several pine box coffins are stacked up fur burial. Here is what I took to heart. I have not yet had to bury a child, nor have I had to bury many people because of plague or other disease. A part of me is torn for each of my members and their families when they lose a loved one, when I lose a friend. But God has yet spared me of such great tragedy as our forefathers had to bear regularly.

I know Patricia's and Edwin's faith and where they are now. And that is the hope and goal of all who confess the name of Jesus Christ. While we walk in this, the valley of the shadow of death, we may fear no evil. For the Lord is with us. While Patricia and Edwin enjoy the mansions laid out for them; while we and their families mourn their loss; may God keep us all in the means of grace that we may inherit the our heavenly home when He calls us from this vale of tears.

We do not mourn as those who have no hope. For we know what Christ has won for us--what belongs to us because of His life, death, and resurrection. May God strengthen this weak flesh of ours.

Edwin's great grand daughter is to be baptized this Sunday. He had hoped to see this happen. He will see this happen, though he is not here now. And with that Baptism, his great grand daughter also inherits eternal life in the name of the same Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.