11/07/2007 07:34:00 pm

Funeral Day

Posted by Unknown |

I went to two funerals today. Normally I do two a year. You know what they say "If you only do them once a year..."

Number one was Howie's Nan's funeral. I'm not sure, but there didn't seem to be many people there who weren't related to her. I felt a little like an intruder. I liked Nan when I met her. And I like Howie. So I was happy to go.

Funeral two was for a woman I never met. I was on church duties, setting the church up, running the PowerPoint and sound. There were probably about 150 people at that funeral. It was for an 83 year-old woman who had 34 children, grand-children and great-grand-children. Imagine their Christmas list.

They did a lot of eulogising (in contrast to Nan's where there was none) and from what I can tell this woman was the best woman in the world. She was pretty much perfect. And she was a damn good cook. I hadn't had breakfast so every time they talked about her cooking I got a little hungry and angry that I was stuck in a sound desk surrounded by crying women and glum men in suits.

My job of putting on the PowerPoint presentation got a little stressful when it wouldn't start. If there is any event you don't want to stuff up technically it's a funeral with a hundred unhappy people waiting on you to project their memories on to a screen. But I got it in the end and Frank Sinatra sang to photos of this lady, so all was well.

She did seem pretty good. I'm sad I didn't get to meet her. Or eat her cooking.

When I was setting up the chairs for the funeral beforehand the undertakers carried the coffin in. They were a lot more jovial bringing it in than when she was taken out. At one point everyone left the church and it was just me and the coffin. I realised I'd never been left alone in a room with a dead body before. It wasn't a big deal. I wish it was would have been a better story.

It did occur to me that it is a little weird that the place where we put the keyboard and bass guitar on Sunday is the same place we put the dead bodies during the week. What odd buildings churches are.

Funerals are funny things. I feel like other cultures do death better than us. Other cultures mourn for years, and eat lots of food and have lots of music and hug and cry for days. At least that what the books and movies tell me.

We spend an hour in a church. It just seems a little token to me.

I decided after today that when I have a funeral I want people to talk about what they didn't like about me. I don't want people leaving thinking I'm Jesus the Sequel. Because if you really what to remember me remember the fact that I was selfish and arrogant, as well as the fact that I make brilliant pasta and microwave meals.

The minister of the Catholic church did a sermon about old age and how it's bad. And about how we neglect old people. I think. I found it a little hard to follow but he had some nice images.

Joe, my minister, talked about hope and that we find hope in death only in Jesus. It was pretty good. Because really, when you're preaching at a funeral, it's no use preaching to the dead body, they're gone. It's the rest of us, living somewhere between life and death you have to worry about.

I did spend a lot of the day reflecting on my hope in Jesus. I am very happy to have a saviour who has died for me. I'm happy to have a hope for life beyond death. I am thankful that sinful me has been saved from hell my sinless Jesus. I am thankful that death is not the end. Death doesn't excite me, but I'm not to worried about it. My God, he has done it.

To quote Nan's order of service: "We grieve...and live in the hope that death opens out into victory."

That was the best thing I heard all day.