Wednesday, May 21, 2008

After the Funeral

We had the funeral today for one of sweetest women I have ever known.

It was crazy beforehand, the city had flushed some of the sewer lines this week, so the bathrooms in the church basement flooded an hour before the service and were unusable the entire time. So we had the one bathroom upstairs for the 250 people who showed for the funeral. The other event that had the possibility of being a problem was that the former pastor (who hurt alot of people and was basically kicked out of this parish) showed up at the funeral. But it ended up OK, he and the parishioners all behaved well.

The rest went well. A granddaughter and a nephew both provided special music, and sang with their hearts. The sanctuary and balcony were full, and we had about 15 people seated in the basement watching the service on video.

It was especially moving at the cemetary. They had had her cremated. One of her sons carried the small wooden box that held his mother's ashes to the small hole another of her sons had dug the day before. When I gave the nod, he knelt down and put the box in the hole. As I said the traditional words "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" I sprinkled a handful of dirt over the box. From the faces of the family gathered around, I could tell they were moved and touched by this intimate service. It started to become real at that moment for many of them.

It was a good and a hard morning, with a big-hearted family surrounded by a caring community, and the Gospel was proclaimed. I am grateful.

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