My colleague, Amanda Baker, wrote what follows about funerals. I’m thankful that she gave me permission to share it with you. Hopefully, it helps to explain why I don’t believe you need me to come back to officiate at funerals after I move.
“It isn’t hard for skilled clergy to preach a funeral for a person we’ve never met. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. Meeting the family and gathering the stories and tidbits that tell us about a person’s life and witness are some of the best things we get to do, and I promise it’s enough. When we do know the person, we nearly ALWAYS learn things we hadn’t known, and, to tell the truth, we’re much more at risk of skewing the service with our own perception of the person.”
“We bring an understanding of the grief process, a theology of resurrection, the tradition of the Church, and a willingness to listen. You bring the stories and the love, and together they create the right service for the person you love.”
“I know many of you have been to a service where it was wildly evident the officiant didn’t know anything about the deceased. But that isn’t really the problem. The problem is that they didn’t listen to the people who did.”