The other day I attended a funeral for a young woman (37). It was a sad event because family and friends were mourning the tragic loss of a loved one. It was even more sad, because there was no mention of the resurrection or the hope we have in Jesus.
Now, I didn't know this woman. She was a friend of several of the women in my congregation. I went to the funeral in a pastoral capacity as a sign of support for them. However as I sat listening to the presider an already sad event grew even more sorrowful.
There were probably 150 - 200 people in attendance. People coming to this place to share grief and support for the family and friends of this young woman. What a wonderful opportunity to share a word of hope to this community in their grief.
Instead, the presider read about 25 selected readings from the Bible. Then he read a commentary to some of these passages from a sect known as the Christian Scientists. I found myself growing angry as the presider read. It wasn't that he was reading poorly, he read well. I couldn't help but think of how people were hearing this. Did they understand what they were hearing? Was this soothing to them in this time of grief? Was it clear that Jesus' resurrection, his victory over death, gives us hope in the midst of our grief over the death of a loved one? Isn't that the purpose of a Christian funeral?
Or was this was merely a memorial service. People gathered to remember a loved one, here some words read, tell stories, cry and go home. That's it. Death wins. It's done. Finished.