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January 28, 2008

Beyond etiquette

On Saturday night I attended a memorial service for one of our church elders, who was also a fellow member of our choir. As the gospel was presented by a member of the church -- according to the express wishes of the deceased -- I couldn't help remembering the advice columns I've seen over the years that expressed prim distaste over the idea of "proselytizing" at funerals. The consensus, as far as I can remember, seems to be that it's a completely tacky and tasteless thing to do.

Be that as it may, I can't recall a single memorial service at my church where the gospel was not presented. And I'm thankful for that. There's something about those moments when death becomes real and inescapable that reminds you that, as important as etiquette is, there are things that are even more important.

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I've noticed that etiquette rule as well and it's always struck me as odd. Without the Gospel message, a funeral is a rather depressing event: a loved one is gone, turned into into dust and we are faced with a grim reality that there is nothing to live for.

With the gospel message, a funeral is a place of celebration as God welcomes another child home and we have the oppurtunity to share that joyous homecoming with others!

I hope the service went well and that the elder's friends and families are comforted by you and your faith community--I'm sure that's the case.

Jason Taylor

Isn't the idea that someone cannot "proslytise" in Church rather odd. Theoretically, by going into Church one is knowingly taking part in a Christian ritual. In which case one can hardly complain of mistreatnent when a reference is made. That would be like saying one cannot proslytise American patriotism at the Arizona Memorial

Diane Singer

A pastor of mine once said that he would rather speak at a funeral than conduct a wedding ceremony since, at the funeral, people were more attuned to reality! It's the perfect place and time to give the gospel.

In fact, one friend made certain that the gospel was clearly presented at her father's funeral, though he was an atheist and she knew he was lost forever. She loved others enough to make certain they heard the truth before it was too late.

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