I was attending a visitation recently, prior to a funeral I was officiating, when I was given a strange request. While giving the deceased’s mother a hug, his brother reached around her, grabbed my hand and said, “No Bible thumping, buddy.” I had never had this happen to me before and I was surprised and startled by his words.
For me, officiating a funeral has two parts:
1. Celebrate the life of the person who has passed. Prior to the service, I spend time with the family to learn about their loved one: Hobbies, passions, work history, enjoyable memories. During the service, I spend time highlighting the person through the eyes of their family. For me, it’s always a good thing to see a smile on the face of the family as I bring back specific memories.
2. Comfort those who are left behind. I try to point those in attendance to the one who can help the most during this time: Jesus. I talk about the comfort, help and hope that Jesus brings to all who desire it.
Hearing the brother’s words made me wonder if he’d had a negative experience in the past? While the words were a little offensive, they did remind me of the need to be a light pointing to Jesus in the right way.
After the service, he shook my hand and said, “Great job, Reverend.” I hope the words of celebration and comfort I spoke made a positive difference to the entire family. I really want to shine brightly for Jesus each day.