In the past few weeks I have been to several funerals. A number of my friends have also been very ill, threatening to cross over the River Jordon. At my age, these things start happening. It’s a little scary. We have started buying sympathy cards by the box.
Each of the last several funerals has been a different religious denomination. Everyone has the same message but it’s amazing how different the presentation and service is in the various churches. I hope the Lord understands how we are trying to communicate because it’s sometimes a little confusing to me.
I have actually enjoyed most of the services and leave felling good about the one who is being laid to rest. For the most part, it is usually my same group of friends attending the services. Whether we are in a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian or Catholic service my friends all seem to fit in, like they are an actual member of the church where the service is being conducted. I feel a little uncomfortable in some of the services knowing when to speak, stand, sit or kneel. I just sit toward the back and try to be quiet. I don’t even try to sing for fear that it might awaken the corpse. Like Mark Twain suggested, I just keep my mouth closed and appear stupid rather than open it and leave no doubt.
I prefer services that are more quiet and reverent, rather than a lot of loud music and preaching. I don’t feel like a hell fire and brimstone sermon at a funeral service. It’s great to be reminded about how great a place heaven is and that the one who has passed is now there waiting for us. I like to hear a nice eulogy, celebrating the life and accomplishments of the one being honored.
I also like for people to be respectful by at least turning off their cell phones for a few minutes. At a recent service, during a very quiet and meditative moment, a cell phone started playing a loud song that began with the sound of a cavalry charge. That woke everybody up and disrupted the whole affair and I thought I could even hear the corpse groan. The only religious message I got from that unfortunate event is that it made me think what a miserable place earth really is, that we are a slave to the phone and modern technology. We can’t even be silent for a few minutes to honor the dead.
I enjoy most of the churches and the messages. I still have to say that one of the most reverent places I’ve been is my very own porch. When it comes time for my funeral, I would sort of like for it to be on the porch. There is not room for many people but there won’t be many attending anyway. I would also like to have the cell phones checked at the door. It would even be okay to have the preacher stay outside and guard the cell phones while someone just reads a few of my favorite verses and the grandkids play my favorite tunes on their string instruments. That would be a perfect ceremony for me to exit the planet and enter the invisible world of eternity.