Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thoughts on a memorial service

I attended a memorial service at our church the other day. It was for an active member of the congregation, so there was a fairly large turnout of the congregation (well, the older members, anyway). And a good amount of friends and neighbors of the family as well.

I noticed that some of the visitors seemed ill at ease. It wasn't grief -- I think they simply didn't come from a faith background and were uncomfortable being in a church. I understand the feeling. When I attend worship services in other denominations or faiths I feel uncomfortable, too. I don't quite know what to expect, and I don't want to accidentally cause offense or disruption.

We had a memorial service, which meant it was an actual church service in memory of the deceased. So sort of like the Sunday thing, only compressed a little. Everyone stood for the singing of the hymns and confession of faith -- but some of our visitors remained silent.

That was OK. They had come to show their respect for the deceased and support for the family. And to place themselves in an uncomfortable situation to do so tells me their hearts were in the right place. It wasn't about them -- it was about how they could help the grieving family.

And that's really one of the core tenants of Christianity. It isn't about me at all, but about what I can do in service to others. I like to think everyone in the sanctuary that day -- regardless of their personal views -- were in agreement with the spirit of that concept.

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