spirits that speak


the preacher

i went to a funeral a couple of weeks ago. it was a friend of the family. kind of a young guy, couldn't have been much more than 40. he had huntington's disease. it attacks the nervous system or something.

but i was at the funeral in my parents' church (a place i was happy to get away from) and the guy delivering the message is someone who i've never been a fan of. i always found his sermons to by really dry and devoid of anything useful. i was quite certain it would be yet another "we're sad, but we should be happy because he's in Heaven now," type of things.

then he spoke.

this was the kind of sermon that took huge guts. because of the nature of the last years of the departed's life, being sick and all, he related the situation to Job. but it wasn't something i expected. he started by talking about how this wasn't going to be "that kind" of sermon. he talked about the situation Job was in when he lost everything. and he didn't just talk about it, he practically painted a picture. talked for a little while about how Job lost everything; his wife, his kids, his life (well almost), and his faith (again, almost). he talked about how he sat in the dust. how Job's friends gradually wore him down and made him feel miserable.

then, the preacher took us to the reason we were there. yes, the man we were mourning actually suffered. yes, it was painful. but he held on to his faith. and where was God? just as Job asked..."Where have you been?!" but then he said something that i kinda predicted because i knew it was true. God was in the hearts of the many people that sat with the departed while he deteriorated. guys that came over to the care home that the departed was in to watch monday night football. people that faithfully visited him week after week, and his efforts to stay positive.

it was all true. and probably the most appropriate funeral sermon i've ever heard. it kind of inspired a little faith in the Church that i haven't had in a while. like, "wow, we're still capable of telling the Truth." and it worked not just because it was true but because it was the angle on Truth that was good for the family to hear. it was comforting to them for their loss. can't argue with that.


  • I'm not sure that is the point of the book of Job. Perhaps you can extract that but I think that the writer was going for something else.

    The book of Job is written as a challenge to the idea that suffering is caused by divine intervention as a punishment for one's actions. In Job's case, nothing he did was the cause of his suffering. It was totally outside of his control.

    His three friends come on the scene and in a series of banter between Job and this three friends (and later Elihu), they all accuse Job of doing something to deserve his suffering while Job rebukes them, saying "I have done nothing! Now I wish to die!"

    God later comes on the scene and rebukes Job and his three friends. He basically tells Job that since he cannot comprehend nor control the wonder of God's creation, what right does he have to question the Creator himself? Thus, the question of human suffering is tossed back into Job's, and hence, the reader's lap.

    My point is that Job's friends weren't exactly making his suffering any easier. Not only that, but God rebukes their theories about the nature of suffering. To extract that God was working through Job's friends is a bit of a stretch.

    In my opinion, of course.

    By Blogger tzink, at 22:59  

  • actually the post states that job's friends only made things worse. the part about God being in the hearts of those around the person whose funeral i was at wasn't meant to be related to Job. the part of Job that was focused on in the sermon was the very real suffering that is sometimes experienced even by those who are faithful to God.

    also, let's not forget the 4th person who corrected everyone including Job. that wasn't brought up in the sermon, but it's important in the book.

    anyhow, i suppose i was attempting to communicate that concepts in Job were applied to the life of the departed in such a way that i hadn't heard before. a way that was unique and was both true as well as somehow comforting to the family. an admirable feat.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 08:47  

  • i should add that i thank you for reading. i always welcome readers who haven't commented before.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 08:48  

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