Contact Us    
Christian Funerals

Attention must be paid.

by Everett Wilson
September 24, 2005

Bookmark and Share
Christian Funerals
This topic is on my mind because we are on our  way to one  right now.  I will assure you that this is not a eulogy, but a celebration of a celebration—Christian funerals as I have experienced them over the past sixty years.   
What is there to like?  Many of the people who are there are incapacitated by grief.  Well, for one thing on the day of the funeral they are not incapacitated, but participatory.  Of course they may not be all that attentive to the sermon, and the graveside may be an emotional ordeal, but most are able to greet those who come,  and are grateful they have come.  As exhausting as the days immediately following a death are, they are not the ordeal faced by a new widow or widower in the weeks and months following the funeral.
Most of you know that I am a Christian minister and still active in my profession as a full-time pastor (sometimes more than full-time, it is that sort  of vocation)  of a  rural church.  All of my churches have been small ones, so the funerals have been comparatively few—enough so that each of them has been an occasion.  When a death occurs, my schedule is largely set aside while I give my first attention to the family and to preparation for the funeral.  
What's to like?  Well, there is a serious human attempt to give attention.  People  get off work if they can, they drive hundreds of miles, the women of the church rally around to provide a meal for all who wish to stay after the service; and this is the twenty-first century, where most of the women in their active years are holding full-time jobs.   It's becoming  more and more common for eulogies or open microphones to take a high place in the service, but for those in my generation the best way to face death is to come together, worship God, and express a biblically-centered hope of heaven.
At the end of Death of a Salesman one of Willy Loman's friends says, over and over, "attention must be paid." It must be paid to who he was, what he did, how he died, because these things all matter. If we do not honor death, we will not honor life. 
I was twenty one when I conducted my first funeral.  The third funeral I had, that same year,  was of a near neighbor,  much loved in community and church.  The little church was very full.  I had my role in the service, but  it was not about me.  Neither, in the large sense, was it about the man who had died. It  was about attention being paid.

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Real Things
A novel.
Published January 2, 2008
Temporarily Unavailable

Real Things first appeared in serialized form on the Partial Observer in 2001. It is now available in print for the first time.

Over thirty years after a senseless crash redefined his life, Greg Thompson and his family finally learn why.

More Information
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Everett Wilson
Necessary Things, A Companion and Sequel to Real Things
Available from Amazon Books, Amazon Kindle, and Me!
by Everett Wilson, 2/16/15
Until Barrett is Free, Neither Are We
Freedom of the Press is not a whim of the state
by Everett Wilson, 2/26/14
Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime
Six Obvious Reasons
by Everett Wilson, 11/15/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/2/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/1/13
Excerpt from my new novel, Scoundrels and Fools
Chapter 5: Ellis Johnson
by Everett Wilson, 7/12/13
The Rev. Marjorie Drickey's Last Message to a Dying World
And all the trumpets sounded for her on the other side.
by Everett Wilson, 2/14/13
» Complete List (151)

RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson

Recently Published
View Article The Death of a Trailblazer
Remembering my neighbor Paul Allen
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/18/18
Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out
The transgressions of youth and social media follow us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/12/18
So Who are We to Judge?
A timely question
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 10/4/18
Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright
An amazing comeback for a disgraced golfer
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/28/18
Bert and Ernie are Not Gay!
Attempting to make sense of a senseless claim
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/21/18
A Prayer for Hurricane Victims
Asking God to calm the storm
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/14/18
Are We Ready for Some Football?
A rhetorical question as the NFL season kicks off
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 9/7/18

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2018 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top