One gift of being a pastor is that death stands right in front of us. We understand that our days are numbered.
I didn't start my day thinking about gang killings. But then a man showed up and asked about a funeral for his nephew—on Palm Sunday.
In response to our request for essays on song, we received many compelling reflections. Here is a selection.
Morticians haven't charged too much, they've done too much. With this precisely correct claim, Caitlin Doughty earns her contrarian stripes.
Even though I preached at my father’s funeral, I remembered how meaningful it was for me to sit in the front row between my brother and mother, to sing and pray with them. I wanted to do that again. The next day I changed my mind.
I found this June NYT article a bit disturbing: some funeral home directors have been placing dead people in lifelike, meticulously personalized poses for their own funerals. It's easy enough to see this as just a continuation of the standard individualistic funeral treatment, honoring people's hobbies and interests.
Regular churchgoing does not make you a friend of death. But if you sit in the pews long enough, you cannot help getting acquainted.
In 1983, Kenneth Mitchell and Herbert Anderson wrote that "death is only one form of loss." This would have been unthinkable for Christians half a century earlier.
We are gathered here in a Christian church as participants in a Christian memorial service to honor the life of Richard, a man who said that he did not believe in God. What right have we to do this? It would certainly be an affront to his memory were we, by this service, to deny him the right to have been the man he was. We cannot pretend or even suggest that he really was somehow, despite his insistence to the contrary, a Christian believer. Indeed, it would be a scandal if we who claim to honor Richard’s memory did not allow him, by his unbelief, to call into question our Christian belief.