Wednesday, February 8, 2023

A slap in the face. . .

Although I did not watch the funeral of Pope Benedict, I did read that many found the funeral liturgy and the musical choices curious at best, disappointing at worst.  It was as if Pope Francis were making it clear who was in charge.  What a shame.  Pope Benedict was by all means a man of integrity and his funeral service should have expressed that integrity.

Actually, this same kind of thing happens all the time.  It happens for pastors whose children decided that after many years of faithful service, his death deserves only what they presume is fitting in their eyes.  I have found myself wringing my hands as a family decided that a pastor who had served his church with distinction deserved no religious service -- only a cremation and a dispersal of the ashes not in sacred ground but where the family found meaning and significance.  How sad!  But that is exactly what happens all the time -- and not only to pastors but to fine Christian people whose children abandoned the faith in which they were raised.  What a slap in the face!

Tragically, we have come to the point where a Christian funeral of a Christian is no longer a given.  It has become typical that the family decides what is meaningful when it comes to the care given to the remains of their dead.  Once I reminded the family of a faithful member where that fellow sat and how often I had communed him in part to remind them what they forgot -- he was a man of faith.  On another occasion, a woman of faith, who even left to the congregation a significant portion of her estate, had a memorial service in the sanctuary she loved without any of her family being present.  Why is it that the family of a faithful Christian finds it so hard to honor the witness of that Christian with the blessing of a Christian burial?

It is a slap in the face of your loved one when you decide not to honor the Christian faith of your loved one and reject a Christian funeral and burial.  Why is it so hard to honor the witness of your loved one while you are free to dishonor their witness and choose either unbelief or a Christianity lacking in substance and truth?  Although I am writing to the families of pastors, I am asking the question to all the families who have abandoned the faith of their loved ones and who chose to put the final dishonor upon that faith by refusing to acknowledge that faith in their death?

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