So today I once again helped a family officiating a funeral. The gentleman was a Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Husband, and friend. He was well liked and will be missed.
I was asked to do four things by the family. Be at the church to receive the body, lead a prayer service that night, return for a funeral service the next morning and do a graveside committal service. My goal with funerals to help however I can. I hope to provide comfort and make sure that the families’ wishes are followed.
I believe I have mentioned that there is a thing called Native Time, or Rez time. I am learning that things happen when they happen. I no longer get stressed about starting on time. It is common for a funeral to start an hour or two after the scheduled time.
In this case Rez time was all over the place. I arrived to receive the body to find the church packed and the body in place. They were early. I did my prayer and spoke with the family. I arrived 10 minutes before the prayer service only to start the service 45 minutes late.
Today was a new one for me. I did the funeral service twice. Same family 2 times. Yup. That is what you do when it is called for. I arrived slightly before the scheduled time. I went in and set up for the worship. I spoke with the family that was present and was asked to start right away. I did the service and was ready to turn it over to the funeral home. But people kept coming and some important people were not there yet.
I waited around. Talked with people, watched the fire and the food cook. I relaxed in the sun and waited.
I was pulled back into the church. I was asked if I could lead a prayer. Then I was put on hold waiting for one more person. After talking with the extended family, we chose to do a complete funeral service. We had a packed house. I am glad I was able to give a message of hope and peace and remind them that God loves them.
I turned the funeral over to the funeral home and the final visitation which is a chance for the guest to say goodbye one final time. This often takes a while. I waited in the sun again.
We eventually made it to the grave site, and I was able to lead the committal service. As they continued to fill the hole, I took my leave and as I left, I was thanked several times. I was happy to be there for the family.
I hope they know that God loves them and so do I.