Suffering Funeral Essay

1428 Words 6 Pages
Quite an Undertaking
In over thirty-seven years of full time rural parish ministry, I have prepared in access of twenty funerals per year which add up to a lot of hours spent with grieving families. A dear friend told me that the name Grahme is related to the German word “grimace” or one acquainted with grief. In the “Suffering Servant” passage, Isaiah records Jesus as “a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53: 3). Jesus described his own ministry, quoting from Isaiah, as one “who came to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free.” ( Isaiah 61: 1) Dealing with the loss of a loved one
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By the end of ten days, we had fourteen! As the embalmer said, “People are dying to meet us!” The poor secretary was experiencing trial by fire never having worked in a funeral home before. We had to have regular decompression conversations, as she called them. I had to send Norman, our fill-in embalmer (who was in his late seventies), out for regular smoke and pee breaks to keep him from getting bent out of shape! We all traded jobs as the situation called for to take care of the same needs. We stayed on late into the evenings with families coming and going, doing our best to give the same care that this Funeral Service was known for in the community. There were “hair-raising” moments when a grave was dug only moments before the service at the church ended, and nails were delivered to the hearse on route to the cemetery. There were “letting hair down” moments when we found hilarious bloopers in the bulletin before it went to print. What was most touching for all of us was the way the community came together in response to my announcement regarding James’ illness. We could not do the same excellent job he did, but if we all worked together, we could honour him by showing the family in grief how much we cared for them by helping in all kinds of little practical ways. Neil came back from the city to take the helm, but we had preparations well underway, and he stepped into the leadership without missing a

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