Jump directly to the Content

Saving the Funeral from an Untimely Death

People today are confused about what funerals are for. How should pastors respond?
Saving the Funeral from an Untimely Death

“Well, you haven’t really been here long enough to know him that well …” She breaks eye contact. The sentence dangles, but the meaning is clear: “You don’t know my dad well enough to do his funeral. Plus, you look really young.”

I breathe deeply. Nearly every time I gather with a family, I hear a similar impulse: that being the person’s best friend is what it takes to lead a funeral well.

“You’re right. I’ve known your father only a few years. Is there someone who could tell a story or two about him? It could be family or someone else who has known your dad for a long time. I’ll speak of your father during the sermon, of course. But there I’ll focus on his life in light of the Resurrection. That’s why we’re gathering.”

This person’s well-intentioned impulse ranks just behind the instinct to ditch the whole “funeral” vibe and go for a “celebration of life; he wouldn’t ...

January/February
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Pastor Obsessed with Conflicts
Pastor Obsessed with Conflicts
From the Magazine
A Poet for ‘Bruised Evangelicals’
A Poet for ‘Bruised Evangelicals’
Malcolm Guite has found himself a sort of tribal elder for younger generations of Christians.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.
close