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Plain and Simple for March 7, 2013

SoVaNow.com / March 04, 2013
For a long time now, I have had a love-hate relationship with weddings. I do them but they can be a pain. Too often nowadays, the minister is just an afterthought. He or she has to be there to make the thing semi-legal but no one really knows what to do with him/her. This is most often true when someone decides they want to have a church wedding even though they have not seen the inside of a church in the last twenty years and have no plans to do so in the next twenty. The bride and groom want to have all the trimmings but do not want to be inconvenienced with the religious mumbo-jumbo.

I much prefer a funeral. At least the minister is appreciated there. This is especially true if you had been involved in visiting the deceased or have had a relationship that went back over the years. Usually, the family simply tells the minister some stories, hymns, and bible verses that they wanted to be included and that is it. Occasionally, they might want to have a family member say a few words, but you could handle that.

Well, welcome to the new world of funerals. Now families usually have someone who is as much a funeral coordinator as the dreaded wedding coordinator with whom I have dealt for years. They want to micromanage everything that goes on in the funeral including who will read what and when. They know the songs that the deceased definitely wanted to be sung and they have every scripture marked that the deceased ever expressed an interest in. They have the perfect PowerPoint ready to go with an hour’s worth of pictures from birth to death.

And then, they have fifteen people lined up to speak. Of course the people will only take about five minutes each to speak. It is important that each one speak because they each knew the deceased best and the deceased will roll over in his or her grave if this request is not met. They anxiously ask the pastor how long he or she plans to speak as if it will be heresy if the official eulogy might go longer than one minute.

In all of this, the fact is lost, as it was in the weddings, that the point in all of this was to honor God. Weddings were to honor the fact that God has brought us together and will keep us together if we put Him first. Funerals thank God for the gift of this person and for that life. It proclaims that we know that this person lives on in the resurrection. What they did on earth matters very much but we need to pay some attention to what God has done.


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