I’m trying to figure out why my original response to this memorial service was so negative.
“remembrance @ht: the burial of the dead: sorrow & hope” is the title of the bulletin printed for the memorial service for the husband of our friend. The service seemed to be largely from the A New Zealand Prayer Book, but a lot of the language was clunky and forced, which was distracting.
The music was dull and plodding.
Episcopal services often seem mechanical to outsiders (see the critiques of “empty ritualism” from earlier this year, from a number of the evangelical churches we’ve attended), but this one was just . . . lifeless. Then homily veered off on a weird tangent about facades and the swept-dirt front yards of Nicaragua. I’m still not sure what to make of that.
My mom visited a church once where the pastor preached on unicorns (as in: they exist and one of the horns the temple priests had was from a unicorn). I don’t know what to make of that, either.
I do know I’d like my funeral to include both music and language that rolls, and reminds the people in attendance that they’re still alive.
I come from a long line of folks in the funeral industry. My generation is the first in four to not have someone in the business, but we’ve all grown up going to cemeteries as a family past time, and I think we’re all very comfortable with death, and with the tumultuous emotions that accompany it. I think this one of the reasons why the baptismal covenant is included in the service from the BCP — it breathes life back into those gathered.
Perhaps what missed the mark was that the service had very little movement back toward life.