Jump directly to the Content


Personal memories can salve death's sting.

When my wife's Grandpa McDowell died, we drove from Iowa to Michigan for his funeral. The family had asked if I wanted to preach the message, but deciding I was too close to the situation, I declined. After all, I needed comforting, too. The McDowells had no church affiliation, so the funeral director recommended a minister in the area to officiate.

At the funeral, the speaker eulogized my wife's grandpa in four minutes. He mentioned grandpa's name only once in passing and read a "canned" prayer from a booklet. He certainly didn't know Grandpa McDowell; that much was obvious.

As the family, we felt hollow, empty, cheated. Following the service, we gravitated toward the casket. My wife's eyes portrayed an agony I had never seen before. Her eyes begged me to do something, anything.

I breathed a silent prayer and asked the family to gather in a circle. As we stood, arms intertwined in front of the casket, I spoke of Grandpa and what he meant to me. I mentioned the whitetail deer he shot out ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
‘How Could All the Prophets Be Wrong About Trump?’
‘How Could All the Prophets Be Wrong About Trump?’
After the 2020 election, a remnant of charismatic leaders are trying to revive their movement from within.
Editor's Pick
5 Ways Collaborative Sermon Writing Can Help Pastors
5 Ways Collaborative Sermon Writing Can Help Pastors
How a cross-cultural experiment with a half-dozen church leaders offered me a fresh perspective.