Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some thoughts on Memorial Services

We attended a Memorial Service this week. Our choir was asked to sing, so we were trying to be supportive. We did not know the deceased. She was a fixture in our congregation and a shut-in during the time we have lived here. I have heard her name many times, because some of my friends and associates have visited her and commented on her character and tenacity.

When we sat near the rear of the sanctuary, I watched people file in...young, old, middle aged. This person was a mother, grand mother and great grand mother. So I began to try to peg people with their association to her. I saw young professional looking women (this was a three o'clock service, so coming from work was a possibility), I saw very elderly folks, and some young families.

What struck me was that I could almost attach a name of a person I have known from the past. I thought I saw people I used to work with, but of course that was not the case. But when I saw them laugh and then cry, I imagined that maybe I had missed something and my former associates had lost a family member. You see, other than the choir and a very few others, I knew no one there. Scarry feeling.

What I was left with was the really great things they were saying about this women about whom I knew little. I remembered the comments at my mother's funeral...17 years ago... coming from people I had known all my life, yet did not realize the impact she had on was that sort of thing. A time to reflect.

I don't like funerals at all, but memorial services (she died 10 days ago) are just fine with me, that is if the officiating clergy doesn't try to save us all. That is really in bad taste. We came to remember the dead. If people need salvation they will figure it out since most of us will want to live a "new" life like the person being memorialized. Let the good come out, laugh a little and then sing favorite hymns with gusto. That's how people should be remembered.

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