A Grave Question…?

I wonder…what’s the strangest thing that happened at (or heading to, or after) the funeral for you?

I remember one graveside service. Near the start of my ministry. The family wasn’t part of the congregation, but a mortuary called my congregation hoping to “find” a pastor (what luck, a pastor was nearby. Me!). Only a handful of family and friends were present. When I said the Lord’s Prayer, I invited “everyone” to join. Bad call. No one seemed to know the prayer. So, it was mostly my voice. Which means, when I forgot the words part way through, everyone heard my “mistake.” Oops. How could I blank on a prayer I’d memorized since being a Sunday school munchkin? But, somewhere around “on earth as it is in heaven,” I lost my daily bread way. I mumbled. I stumbled. And since that time, in every service I’ve ever done, I’ve kept a copy of the Lord’s Prayer handy.

Odd, that was also a service where, behind me as I walked away from the grave, I heard the deceased’s children, a brother and sister, bickering over the will. It was obvious they weren’t concerned about my mistake. O Lord, thy will be done?

What fun, unusual, perplexing, dangerous experiences have you had grave side?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Ever since the movie “Airplane” came out, I am unable to recite the 23rd Psalm without an inner giggle.
    “Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me……”
    Makes me want to say, “Don’t call me Shirley!” 🙂
    In my head, it is heretofore and forever the “Leslie Nielson Psalm.”

  2. My husband buried many people but the one that stands out was a cremation. The husband was cheap and didn’t bother to tell my husband that he had no funeral home involved. An hour before the burial, my husband realized that there was no hole for the urn (which we had at our house.) So he ran home for a shovel and the urn and had to dig the grave in the church graveyard big enough for the urn!! (NC “dirt” is clay, so it was no easy chore.) He was one sweaty pastor for that service… and a little ticked!!!

    1. Joy…that’s great (and also awful!)

      I could see someone saying, “That’ll be a $100 for the graveside service and another $100 for shoveling.” Ah, dedicated ministers!!

  3. Hey Larry,
    Why’s it always happened to us?
    Had a 45 minute wait in cemetery once when the handle on the back of the hearse fell off and couldn’t get coffin out. Slightly undignified scene when mechanic arrived and had to crawl along side the coffin to reach release cables in back!
    Family understanding of situation – although i did a funeral for them a couple of years later and they used a different undertaker!
    Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.