Funeral for Jesus

I just sat through the weirdest “funeral” service I have ever seen in my life.

I first sensed something was amiss when they seated five rows of choir members in the front of the small church, leaving dozens of family and friends to stand against the walls — or worse, standing in the kitchen to watch the service on a tiny television monitor.

My colleagues and I were tearing up, ready to be moved as the pastor, the family members, or whoever spoke about Jeff. The pastor didn’t say anything about Jeff. Instead, he stood there for 40 minutes and stumped for Jesus before calling people up to take communion.

What the hell?

I was so furious, I couldn’t even look at the pastor. I stared at the pew in front of me, raging silently as he gave the most insipid, clichéd speech about how we “see things in mirrors dimly” yet “God sees clearly.” He threw in Jeff’s name a couple of times, but obviously he didn’t know him.

And there we were: trapped. We couldn’t get out because the walkways were jammed full of people who couldn’t sit because the choir was taking up so many seats. We tried to escape — I and my colleagues from Uncle Walt — but we couldn’t. And that pastor knew it when he called everyone up for communion.

I hope Jeff’s family got something out of this because otherwise the whole thing was totally inappropriate. It wasn’t a memorial service (although, the pastor invited everyone to his house later and that was apparently where a real memorial happened). It wasn’t a funeral. It was a church service. And they knew a huge number of people were coming from Jeff’s work. They were told far in advance. As my manager said, he’d never seen so many people ready for a good cry, only to have their tears dry up in first 60 seconds of the service.

We’re planning our own wake for Jeff. We’re going to drink, to cry, to laugh. But most of all, we’re going to remember Jeff.

And that’s the way it should be.

I just can’t help but wonder if there was some kind of massive miscommunication because no one from work should have been at that church. The house, maybe. But not the church.

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