I was talking with a friend about her church. The church is a unique mix of young professionals like herself and older adults in their 60s and 70s. She had recently had dinner with the pastor and asked him what it was like leading a congregation with this age span. In his response, he mentioned that he has done a number of funerals in the time he has been there. When she asked him how many, he replied “About 40.”
Think about that. 40 funerals. I think the pastor has been there for 10 years, which means about 4 funerals a year. A funeral every quarter. If you were a pastor, think about how that would inform your sermons, your counseling, your prayers. How would you conduct weddings, baptisms, and christenings, knowing that death has touched not just you but your community?
I have been a part of several church communities; most of them have been filled with young students or professionals. I have not experienced a death within community. A member might have a family member or a friend pass away, but not someone within the community itself. Yet when death happens, as terrible as it may be, it will be an opportunity for the community to embrace and support each other. Just as mourning is a season of maturity for an individual, so it is for a community.