We used to laugh at the little old ladies in the neighborhood who went to everybody’s funerals. Our childish perspectives couldn’t fathom them knowing those folks…we figured they didn’t have anything else to do so they went to funerals. And then there was the free food that was always good. This character…Funeral Mary…has been notarized even on television shows such as “Good Times,” with Wanda, with the on-the-spot tears and perfect funeral dress, filling the bill.
So now that I’m one of those women…notice the change of description…I know why “we” go to funerals. And especially now that we can travel digitally. No need for hats, funeral dresses, etc. In jeans or jammies we can share in the reading of the word; we can sing along with the great hymns of the church, we can remember along with the stories as they’re told. And. The air of celebration is exquisite. It is at this time that we are reminded of the ongoing, unmatchable grace of God. Collectively. The celebration, or rather the reason for the celebration is not strange. To any of us. None of us is making it without the grace of God, whether we acknowledge it or not. Whether we acknowledge him or not. Whether we thank him or not. It’s not strange. There’s nothing within us that can propel us onward, maintain our lifeline or authenticate the journey except the gracious hand of God. It is this that we have in common. It is this that we celebrate when we gather. It is this that we celebrate when we mark the moment of a well-lived life. Of a life no longer lived on this side of glory. Of a life now standing in reclaimed awe of the glory of the God who has graced it even before the earth journey began.