An Undertaker's Ministry Report

Superior Essays
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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The average person on the street has no idea of the behind-the-scenes work of embalming, detailed arrangements, transportation, and counselling. Undertakers’ families make big sacrifices, placing the needs of others before their own as a spouse works into the early hours of the morning several days running to accommodate families who have lost loved ones during the same time span. All the undertakers I have worked with have been gifted and compassionate people obviously called to their vocation. There is also a God-given sense of humour that lies just below the surface which is “medicine for the soul” (Proverbs 17: 22) for such an undertaking. In my last parish, I became close friends with James, and from time to time, he would confidentially invite me to assist him in a whole variety of ways which broadened my appreciation yet again for the art and complexity of operating a Funeral Home in the remote north. James is one of those individuals who is equally at home conducting a funeral service in the church as he is in fulfilling the skills of embalming and undertaking. Over the last few years, he has been schooling me experience by experience in the art of …show more content…
His son Neil who works side by side with his Dad needed to be present in the city during the week of the operation. “If they brought in a licenced embalmer would I be able to manage the Funeral Home assisted by a newly-hired secretary?” I was asked. There would not likely be more than a couple of services to handle. I recalled a similar request which turned into my first experience of doing a funeral solo at Sturgeon Landing, Sk. It was a 10 hour round trip which included setup at the grave, taking the service and preaching as well as takedown and loading all the equipment. I did not know till the last moment that no one would travel with me. The hearse was mine for the day as well as all the challenges that would come along the way. The biggest challenge of the whole day was retrieving the “church trucks” from the local band which had claimed them as a prize and hidden them in the fire hall! If I could do an out-of-town service, surely the local services would be easier to manage. I took a week of holidays, and the parish released me for seven additional days since James was a dear friend of the parish and had contributed to the congregational life in many ways over the

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