Prince Philip’s funeral was held yesterday and millions watched it, thanks to the wonder of broadcasting. And today I am disturbed by the kinds of comments many people are making about it, some of whom claim to be Christian.
If I may, I would like to log this request in advance for when I die: if you attend my funeral, please don’t critique it on social media, with your friends, your family, or even in your heart and mind. Better still, just don’t critique anyone’s funeral. And don’t compare, either.
A life has been lost. Different people have different ways of marking the significance of this. Respect those differences. Honor and esteem others, even if you would prefer your funeral to be different than theirs.
And, please, please respect the particular faith tradition represented. You may not share the same faith, but this does not mean the faith of others is any less deep and truly in touch with the heart of God.
Just be a space-holder for those who are most keenly affected by loss. We do this through reverent, gracious presence. Space-holders know that these special times of remembrance are, in fact, the holy ground of eternity. A funeral is no time to analyze and evaluate. It is a time to pray for the hurting, to just be with them. Though it is fine to offer a few words of comfort, it is also good to keep in mind that words tend to fail. Just be present. Your presence is enough. Look and listen with love.
the critique of a funeral
reflections by Rev. Troy B. Cady