Ministry to Up-and-Outers


Locked gates and security systems cannot keep out the inevitable pain and confusion of life.
—Mark Matheson

I once participated in the funeral for a high-level corporate executive and community leader. The service was held at another, larger church to accommodate the great number of attenders. The pallbearers consisted of mayors, a former governor, an astronaut, and other community leaders. The procession to the cemetery was led by twenty stretch limousines, and several hundred cars followed.

I went to the bereaved family's home following the service and found a catered reception. The large tent standing in the backyard made the event seem more like a garden party than a funeral reception.

Feeling awkward, I wondered for a while if I was needed. Finally the caterer left and the tent came down; the friends and relatives said their good-byes and departed. Yet, grief and loss lingered, and I was glad I was present to help meet the needs that remained.

This experience, however, has not been that ...

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