Monday, May 10, 2010

Liturgical Snobbery

I am a liturgical snob.

We buried my grandfather today.  The pastor used the time to do an expanded altar call rather than celebrate the life of my grandfather or to offer any words of comfort whatsoever.

I thought that surely he would offer some traditional prayers at the burial--you know, some ashes to ashes, dust to dust, recieve this man into your open and loving arms, comfort this family, something!  I must admit--he did ask God to comfort us but that was it.  I wanted to hear about my grandfather being received/admitted into heaven, being made whole through Christ Jesus.

I did not want to hear that it was the time to decide whether or not to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I did not need to hear that  going to church, belonging to a church or denomination did not guarantee me admitance to the afterlife or that heaven is a litural place somewhere in the sky/up above. 

I've been to one other funeral that totally upset me as much as this one did.  That was for my cousin, Doug.  That pastor, different man but same denomination, also used the funeral for an extended altar call rather than offering words of comfort.  I was 16 at that funeral and it bugged me then! 

I wanted to hear about a new heaven and a new earth, about my tears and pain being wiped away.  I wanted to hear about my grandfather being made whole and resurrected through Jesus Christ.  I wanted to pray for God to lovingly receive him into God's arms.  I wanted real words of comfort.

I wanted to hear ashes to ashes, dust to dust, from God and returned to God. 

I did find that I have a pretty hilarious family.  I received a disk of pictures of my grandfather that I will cherish forever. 

Now I need to let myself feel the pain and sadness that keeps threatening to leak out.  It began to sneak out but I pushed it back.  I guess I need to pray for the strength to feel. 

That said, it's got to wait till Thursday.  I will be honoring the life and faith of a wonderful woman and friend on Wednesday.  I hope we'll have a break from death for a long while--we've had too much of it in our church this past year.  I know others who've experienced much more than I have but I'm really tired and need to rest in the Spirit.

Speaking of rest, good night and sweet dreams.  God bless.

2 comments:

mibi52 said...

Blessings to you, too...I guess I'm a liturgical snob, too. We had a similar experience at the funeral of my husband's uncle. It was such an offensive service (and I do not use that phrase lightly) that several members of the family who are clergy and professors of theology wrote to the pastor, decrying the way the service went. They were told "Well, that's the service R and C would have wanted." Not so sure about that....I think we need to acknowledge the place of grief and pain as well as the hope of the resurrection, and that is the beauty of our liturgy.It gives space for the range of human experience of death even as it unfolds the promise of the heavenly banquet table. But somehow God helps us wrap an incarnational experience around our understanding of God's mystery. May your dear grandfather rest in peace and rise in glory.

God_Guurrlll said...

Yep same experience at my father-in-law's funeral. But the extended altar call with no liturgy was the funeral he wanted. I gave the eulogy but his widow (my MIL whom I love deeply) asked to read it and the she took out all of my liturgical language.

My condolences to you in these hard times.