Please Don't Preach at My Funeral
Although I turned 60 this past August, I have no intention of dying anytime soon. I am not aware of a dread disease or pending accident coming my way, but when I do pass away, please don't preach at my funeral.
In my short lifetime, I have attended too many Christian funerals where preachers take advantage of the situation to preach a sermon; one on salvation and what the deceased did right or did wrong, and how to avoid going to hell; not to mention sermons that use raised voices and animated body movements and pacing. It is especially distressing when, in reality, the very presence of loving friends and family, their kind words, countenances, and their testimonies of the deceased already clearly express the essence of the true meaning of the gospel.
At my funeral, I want music--lots of it; music for reflection, remembrance, and hope. Music to soothe souls and spirits, music to make people cry, or laugh, or rejoice . . . or whatever emotion grips them.
At my graveside, please share poetry, readings, or scriptures, anything that was planned ahead of time and is devoid of slang and informal off-the-cuff verbal meanderings masquerading as eloquence.
Not everything about my funeral needs to be religious or gospel-sanctioned, because, frankly, if God is unable to speak to the heart of an individual in the presence of great love for the deceased, there is very little chance a "well-meaning" preacher is going to accomplish it either.
When people leave my funeral, I want them to feel uplifted and grateful. I want them to have a renewed sense of purpose that their lives matter, that God loves them just as they are, that they need not fear the grave because God is bigger than their fears.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness
be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but
in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all under-
standing will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers (& sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it
into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
--The Apostle Paul: Philippians 4:4-9
This is what I would like for my funeral.