Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Funeral evangelism.

It snowed last night. And the wind shook the house. Mr. Paeha kept barking at the noises. It took a while to simmer him down. We drank tea, sat by the fire and watched our Korean history soaps.

I had two funerals yesterday --I wasn't "in charge" of either, so that made it easier... as if two funerals in a day could be easier. What am I thinking. I do not want to get immune to the shock of death, and yet, we've had ten burials already this year.... Neither do I want to become so affected that I am rendered useless. A fine balance.

What I do know is that with this funeral schedule, it is hard to build anything up --except relationships. Maybe that's it... maybe that's all.... Funeral evangelism.

But, the Bishop called last week and said he wanted to write a grant to fund a youth group coordinator for next year. I was embarrassed that I haven't done so --grateful that he wanted to do so --amazed at this action by a Bishop. He constantly amazes me. I am so deeply humbled by his passion, confidence and faith. And he is a help to the priests.

Imagine that. And he was on vacation when he called me. Not a very good example to set --but one which totally awed and inspired me. It means I don't have to explain why I drove to Rapid to see D while he was in the hospital. Both before his leg was amputated, and afterwards.

Mostly --I am so very grateful that my Bishop would lift his eyes to the youth on this Reservation. And act on their behalf.

And there we are.

At prayer this morning (Romans 5:1-11)

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.

But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Dang. Paul. That's beautiful. Were you pacing back and forth while you were saying this? --your scribe scratching quickly to keep up? Or was this one of your tranquil moments --like there was milk dripping from your lips and you were full up on the love of God?

We have now received reconciliation. Therefor, all things are possible. We boast in our sufferings because hope does not disappoint us --because God's love has been poured into our hearts.

Who could ask for anything more? Especially when one's Bishop is in to that whole 'love has been poured into our hearts' understanding.

So, here I go to share the love of God. Even in burying the dead. Yes. Funeral evangelism.

Thanks be to God.

3 comments:

The Rev. Susan Creighton, Anchorite said...

Massey Shepherd, beloved professor of liturgics at CDSP when I was there (1976-79) always said that the BCP funeral service was our greatest evangelistic tool. But I would say that what is even more crucial is your loving and faithful presence.

Also, please know that your blog always begins my day with a tug at the heart with its rich food for the soul. You are exercising a vital ministry that many of us cannot. Do know that you and your people are in my daily prayers.

it's margaret said...

Susan, I think Shepherd would be out of breath with what we do with the BCP funerals services here...

Thank you for your prayers.

JCF said...

"Even at the grave we make our song, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"