In the past I have told people that I buried someone that day. Funerals are part of the life of a Pastor, and I have been at many of them. And in many of them I was at the graveside for the interment. But before today I have never literally buried someone.
Funerals on the reservation are different than anything I was taught at seminary. They are different from anything I had previously experienced. Funerals are multiday affairs. It is common to have someone stay with the body 24 hours a day. There is food and conversation. I am not an expert on funerals so I will not go into to many details.
The sad reality is there are funerals happening on the reservation. I was told that the local funeral home is the second busiest in the state. Holy Cross Episcopal Church, where I live and where I am acting in the role of Preist, is one of the few buildings that is allowing funerals. And we have been busy. In December we had an 18-day period where there was a funeral in the building for 14 out of the 18 days. I do not serve at all the funerals but, I stop in for almost everyone.
Today was one of the funerals that I was asked to provide the service. I met with the family and then came back for the service. It was a small service but the music was beautiful and I did my best to provide comfort hope and to let them know that God Loves them.
We only had 3 pal bearers. So, I stepped up and helped move the casket.
One of the things I am getting used to is that the families dig the graves. We arrived at the gravesite on a muddy day. At the grave site I helped to lower the Pine Box into the grave. I then helped move the casket into place over the grave.
After giving the graveside portion of a funeral, “Dust to Dust” It was time to lower the casket. Once again with short numbers I pitched in. Once we were ready the sister of the deceased threw in a handful of dirt. And then I helped to fill in the grave. The pile of dirt was next to the grave and as a group we scooped and threw dirt into the grave. Including a little girl of 8 or 9.
So today, for the first time in my life, I actually helped to bury somebody. I must admit it was hard work. But it was God’s work too. The family stepped up and took care of their family member.
This family loved this lady and God Loves you and so do I.