Last Monday I was asked to perform a funeral. A lady in our church, we’ll call her Jane, is a mother of 11 children, grandmother to 39 and great grandmother to 33. The deceased, let’s call him Stan, was the common law husband to one of her daughters. I didn’t know Stan, but I knew Jane for twelve years. She was a regular attender to our church and had recently made a public profession of her faith in Christ.
Funerals are often times when I’m able to meet people who usually avoid church like the plague. In our neighbourhood, that would include most people.
Early Monday afternoon I sat down with Jane, her daughter and a few other family members, to sort out the details of the service. An hour later, things were will in hand for a Wednesday funeral.
Tuesday morning, Jane passed away.
The family was left in chaos. At the funeral on Wednesday, Stan’s passing was overshadowed by the grief of Jane’s passing.
On Friday, Jane’s funeral was delayed when a family member had a seizure in the viewing room. Even from my perspective the rest of the service was blur.
At both funerals, a precious few were fellow disciples of Christ. Most had no faith at all. I wish I could say something more profound that this: there is a noticeable difference between they way both mourn. It isn’t that one is more emotional than the other. In fact, both grieve deeply.
The difference is the hope. For those who don’t know Christ, it’s more of a desperate wish that they will see their loved one again. For disciples, it’s an earnest expectation of an eternal reunion.
I made one other observation. When confronted with the reality of death, some people embrace deep questions. Others work hard to avoid any sort of deep thought. They just hurt.
Heading into Sunday, I was emotionally drained. That didn’t alter the expectations of worship. People still expected to meet God on Sunday morning. With such an exhausting week, I was left struggling to meet those demands. It’s a great blessing to know members of my country were able to step forward and help carry my burden.
That’s life in the Undiscovered Country.