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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by SaggyWoman, Jul 30, 2004.
What is a "proper" funeral anymore?
Who is a funeral for, the dead or for the living?
funerals are for the living. It is a time of reflection and counsel. It is a formal type of closure to help loved ones say goodbye easier.
I am a pastor and a funeral director. A "proper" funeral is defined differently by whites, blacks, baptist, catholics, etc.
For example, blacks in the south hold the body out a long time and then have a long celebratory service, sometimes with as many as five preachers.
Whites on the other hand hold the body out for a short period of time and then have a short service of memory, with at most only two preachers.
Baptist tend to be non-ritualistic, while Catholics are very ritualistic.
I thought "prop"er services were when they propped the casket against the wall at the wake . . and then propped up most of the participants after a night of drinking
I know many IFB pastors believe a "Proper Funeral" is getting up and preaching an hour long sermon on salvation, and wasted lives. At my fathers funeral in June of 2000, his pastor from N. Augusta, SC. was pretty much of that mind anyhow. It was a stuffed little chapel at the Thomas King Funeral home with over 200 people there, no air conditioning, and several people passed out from the heat. Some just got up and went outside and sat on the porch and sat looking at the traffic going by on Davis Rd. This preacher said as many of them were walking out, "See! Conviction!" Lord save us from the hypocrisy of a "proper funeral". Just plant me in a pine box in the graveyard over by what used to be Southgate Mall.
One where the guest of honor is deceased.
The living. The dead won't care.
the funeral is the absolute best time to evangelize and witness to the lost. People are most open to the fact that we are mortal beings headed towards death at any moment only to meet our divine maker in tragedy and heartbreak.
It may be an ideal time to present the Gospel, but not at the expense of time for the family in bereavement, and especially not to stand in the pulpit and make a spectacle of ones self claiming people are leaving from "conviction". A short message, yes. A long, drawn out message...no. Not proper at all. It was more of a turn off to our unsaved relatives than would be a hard preached sermon on a regular Sunday morning.
I know what you mean, recently a good friend of mine died in a fire. The pastor of his Church preached the funeral and spent some thirty minutes on his sermon alone. To make matters worse he gave it to use in doses, he would speak, then seem to stop but then after a breath he would take up on an entirly new subject. People were more depressed from the message than from the burial.
GodzThunder, you might know both of these pastors. The one who did my father in laws funeral back in 1991 was then the pastor of Providence Baptist on Wrightsboro Rd. The pastor who preached my fathers funeral in 2000 was a former member of that church and pastor of a church in N. Augusta, SC on Atomic Rd (Lighthouse Baptist is the name of his church, I believe, and is also a small business owner there who sells outbuildings for a living. I will not mention their names. The first 'pastor' is now over a church in Savannah, GA and was for a time the college administrator at Victory Baptist College over in N. Augusta, SC.
We had my youngest brother's funeral this past Sunday. His children, who are unchurched, did not know any ministers. My mother is a member of the Baptist church where I live but she can't stand the preacher and would not have wanted him to hold the funeral service. She is now in a nursing home. My church doesn't have a pastor right now and the retired pastor is ill, so I couldn't get him. We finally decided to ask the Pastor of the Methodist church, a close friend of my mother. He was very gracious in accepting and did a wonderful job. He did not know my brother. He talked about 20 minutes and did witness but nothing long and drawn out. We all thought it was very well done and appreciated the preacher for the love he showed for our mother and the family.
AVL Yes I know them both.