Funeral Service

Posted: January 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

It was another regular Friday for this writer when the senior pastor approached him and asked to conduct a funeral service in Talisay. The deceased was a mother of one of the members of the church. She was eighty four years old. The woman died on Wednesday and the senior pastor already conducted a service on Thursday. Now, the assignment fell in the hands of the pastoral staff.

It was his first time to ever conduct a funeral service. His job was usually designing the paper where the program was placed and printing it. It was also his job to ask for details and making sure that the name, the birth date and the day of death is correct. No one would appreciate wrong grammar and wrong dates. This was not also the first funeral in the year as death is as constant as giving birth. Being a regular at funeral service makes a person have an idea of what to say or what not to say but preaching in a funeral service is a different thing. To add up to the pressure, the senior pastor would be there in the funeral service as part of the support group and not the one who would share a message. This writer was just so flustered at preparing that he just quit what he was doing and started praying instead.

As the evening approached, it was time to leave and head over to the place where the service was going to take place. Some members of the youth and the young adults came along with the worship team and it was encouraging to know that the writer’s sister was there too. The whole group arrived late. The traffic in the area was not anticipated and they arrived an hour past seven.

The service began with a song from the worship pastor and then a few line of the chorus really hit some nerves. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…and life is worth, the living just because He lives”. Indeed it was an opportunity for the speaker to be able to share the gospel that it isn’t much about the dead, but those who are alive. A reading on Psalm 23 followed the songs and then it was time to share a message to those who were left behind. There was a large group playing mah-jong, a Chinese game which Filipinos usually play during the wake. The speaker slowly went to the center of the group and began to speak about hope in this life from the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. The passage spoke of Christ being raised from the dead and that is our hope, that we, as believers, can cling on to. We are going to be raised up one day! In conclusion, the speaker took out a big rope to illustrate the value of our lives today and in eternity. He pointed out at the tip of the rope which symbolizes our lives on earth. It is indeed, short and fleeting. While what we are supposed to think about is eternity (the speaker at this point rolls the rope to illustrate a longer life which doesn’t end).

The worship pastor took over and sang a hymnal, Blessed Assurance, which is familiar to the people who were much mature in the audience. Then they prayed for the family and then ended with a final song, In Christ alone.

The experience of handling a funeral service was indeed memorable, that the writer could speak about it even if it was a year ago. It was his first time, and probably not his last one yet.

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