“Could you do a funeral in two hours?”

By April 30th, 2013

Family & Friends,

In preparation for Africa I’m cleaning out old files and boxes. I found a “Clergy Record” from Sept 8, 1975, when I was a young seminary student. That whirlwind day came back in a moment.

On this Monday I went to the seminary pastoral ministry office. As I waited, the phone rang. Someone had looked up the seminary in the phone book and asked for a minister to do a graveside funeral in two hours. The secretary looked up and asked me if I would do it. While a million unknowns flitted through my seminarian frontal lobe, I said, “Yes”. I arrived for the funeral of a 52 year old man and met the strangers who were family. The most disconcerting thing came shortly after I stepped out of my old car. The widow came up to me, pulled me aside, and said, “Don’t say he was a good man. He wasn’t.” I think she expected me to lie about someone I didn’t know! No need to lie since I knew what Jesus did in John 11. He came to a funeral, he wept, he prayed and He promised that He was the Resurrection and the Life. I did my best to comfort and passed on the promise of Jesus. I also prayed that I would get more lead time for the next funeral!


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