Six Things A Minister “Probably” Should Not Say at a Funeral

Funerals are important moments. There are precious grieving souls needing words of comfort and grace.  Out here in rez country, the families seem to call multiple clergy for most wakes and funeral. I have attended or co-officiated dozens of funerals in the last few years. The tone of this post sounds a little condescending; I intended it to have a only touch of my dry humor, but any way… here are 6 Things a Minister Probably Should Not Say at a Funeral:

graveside1. The Fertility of life. Seriously, please DO NOT talk about the fertility of life.  A funeral is a serious time, and you will make it difficult for the rest of the clergy to maintain their somber composure. It would be especially bad if the front seats were lined with a good number of kids to a good number of baby-mommas. One dear friend would always misread his beautiful funeral liturgy about the futility of life in this rather awkward way. Continue reading

In Dad’s Words: Grace Sufficient for the Grieving

graceI picked up one of Dad’s sermon notebooks today and my eyes fell on some of the words he shared at the funeral of a parishioner. My mind, of course, retraced the steps back that time and place over two decades ago – a journey now marked by the loss of Dad’s passing. The sermons in this notebook include a full outline exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Almost all of the sermons in this particular notebook are handwritten – often with bold blue ink and red underlining, stunningly neat (not his usual scrawl) and thoughtfully presented in outline form. For this occasion, he deviated from his typical pattern to write manuscript some of what he wanted to share that day. I read these words today and thanked God that they are true when they were first shared and they are true today. I’ve found God’s grace sufficient for me on my own journey and I share these words hoping they might again console another soul. He begins with a poem by H. S. Rice, The Bend in the Road.  Continue reading