From the Pastor’s Study
I don’t know if there is ever a ‘good’ time to talk about funerals; but maybe with All Saints’ Sunday coming in November (when we take special notice of our departed loved ones), and in the continuing anxiety with COVID, this is as good as any time.
Both secular observers (Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”) and scripture (Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a wise heart.”) counsel us to face the certainty that we will die. (Yes, I’m aware of the exception found in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; but it is irresponsible for anyone to plan on that event to cover them.) We need to be prepared, in our hearts and souls and also in our earthy affairs, for the reality of our death.
On the spiritual side, are you keeping ‘short accounts’ with your Lord? Do not put off your prayers, do not delay making peace with Him and your family and neighbors. Be ready at any time to be brought before Him to give an account of your life. (Luke 12:16-21)
There are also the matters of our earthly affairs. Who will take on your financial affairs? Do you have a will; if so, who has a copy? And do you have any thoughts on funeral services; what you do or do not want as part of them? Please, talk with your family, write your wishes down and give a copy to someone you trust. If you have made arrangements with a funeral home, they should have this information.
It is at this point that I have a strong suggestion; if the church has been a significant part of your life, it should be part of your death. If you have, over the course of your years, regularly participated in the worship and life of a congregation, the service celebrating that life should be in a church. Maybe in your last years you have been physically unable to attend; but if in the years of your ability you did come, then your home-going should be celebrated from your church home. (Of course, the opposite is true as well; if you did not regularly participate in the life of a church, it seems to me a sham to hold your service in a church. If you stayed away in life, why should you come here in death?)
With all the funerals I’ve conducted, I know there are situations (even apart from a pandemic) where holding a service in a church is just not feasible; I don’t mean this as an iron rule. But I’ve seen too many cases where there hasn’t been consideration given to holding the service in a church.
I know that death and funerals are sensitive topics; and, if you’d like to talk with me about any of this, I am ready to listen.
– Pastor Ron Troup
<>< Pastor Ron Troup
Faith UMC, Sunbury, PA – http://www.faithumcsunbury.org/
203 Arch Street (corner of 2nd St.)
PO Box 387, Sunbury, PA 17801
(570) 286-6301 – ‘Like’ us on Facebook
Faith United Methodist Church • 203 Arch Street Sunbury, PA 17801 • (570) 286-6301