I have been to a lot of funerals in the past couple of years, and I've had a couple of others that I couldn't get to because they were too far away. Some of the sermons I've heard were good and some made me want to scream.
Yesterday I heard one of the good ones at the funeral of a 19 year old member of Redeemer who had been in a long struggle with leukemia. It was a sermon full of the joy of a young man released from his suffering here to join his Savior in Heaven, but it didn't deny the sadness of those who mourn.
It was also very interesting to me that although the service was in Spanish, I almost always knew what was being said. A bit of this can be attributed to my two years of high school Spanish, but I had the same experience in a church in Germany when I knew no German. This is a wonderful strength of following a liturgy and using common prayers.
The funerals of young people are always sobering. As a parent I could only imagine the grief of Juan's parents at the loss of a child. During the sermon and the committal, my eyes were often drawn to the faces of our five acolytes--ranging in age from 11-19--who served yesterday. Several times I saw features struggling for composure as they saw the grief of the family and listened to the words of the sermon.
I was privileged to drive them out to the cemetery. After the graveside service we got back in the van, cramming in the five boys with torches and Celtic Cross, and as we were pulling out of the cemetery, one of them suggested a trip to Starbucks. My first reaction was, "No. I have to much to do. We need to get back to the church." But I decided that they really had earned a treat, and I'm always up for Starbucks.
So from the seriousness of the funeral we moved on to the very comical sight of five boys in cassocks and surplices piling into Starbucks in downtown Fort Wayne. The barista thought they were a choir. Too bad Pastor Cholak wasn't there.