I had never met the dearly departed.
In my first year of ordained ministry, interning at a church with three full-time clergy, I got the leftovers. Who preached on the Sunday after Easter or Christmas? Why not the kid? With a lone exception, none of the church members wanted the youngster for their weddings. I saw numerous baptisms, but had no hands-on, wet-and-wild-in-the-Spirit moments. They all preferred experience; a minister with gravitas. Being only a Christian witness does have its downsides.
However, there were those desperate calls from families, perhaps tangentially connected to the congregation, searching for a pastor’s help with a funeral.
They’d take anyone.
Grammy died. A favorite uncle died. The mother’s brother’s son’s girlfriend’s step-father died. The church secretary would answer the phone, gleaning enough of the family’s needs to pass them along to the senior pastor. The senior pastor, a fine fellow by the way, might quietly commiserate with the grieving caller. They beseeched him to preside over the graveside service or share kind thoughts at the funeral parlor. Alas, Rev. Senior Pastor was busy on that particular day. But good news! He had a young pastor that would be . . . perfect!
Would they want to talk to said young pastor?
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