Well it's six hours until my first funeral. There is a part of me that thinks it is patently ridiculous that I am nervous! I have been a priest for almost two years, ordained in general for longer than that! I should be all cool with this! But, I don't generally like firsts and have never liked being the new kid of any sort. Our sweet little receptionist at the day job picked up my mood this morning and asked me what was up. When I told her what I was stressin' about, she gave me her Dove Promises message: Remember your first everything. I think that's a given with this one.
I was here at the office till about 9:15 last night making up the service booklet. I am a great believer in them. Especially when you don't know who you are going to have in the pews. I love the BCP, but let's face it, for the newcomer, it is not exactly user friendly. So I go to the online prayerbook and do a little cut and paste, take out the extraneous directions and things we are not using, add in the readings, and make up a little book and we are good to go.
Then I went over to church to copy, fold and staple. After I ran the first 35 copies, I realized that I had not quite cut and pasted it in the right order and had to go back and do a fix. Then the copy machine at church, which prints about 10 pages a minute on a good day, kept telling me it was going to run out of toner any minute! Fortunately it did not, but by the time everything was cut, pasted, collated, folded, stapled and tucked up at the back of the church it was well nigh on 11, and me with no sermon. And the dog with no dinner. Well me neither, but I was sort of beyond it at that point! So home I went to feed the dog, clean the cat boxes and, really, I was going to, write a sermon. I made two out of three and crashed!
Fortunately God is good, and I somehow got inspired in the shower this morning. So, hair dripping and ensconced in my robe, I wrote a quick outline sitting in the bathroom before I lost all those good thoughts, and finished it off as soon as I got to work. I may post it later, but this one feels like it needs to be preached first for some reason.
I know, as one of you said in the last comments, that every family has history. And of course we as clergy are in the position to know some of it that people have not necessarily shared with us. That makes it an interesting and delicate proposition to preach the word of God to them at a time when they are particularly fragile and in pain. For some reason, in the midst of all my oh-so-human first-timer fears, this feels like a great gift and at the same time an awesome responsibility. I am really counting on God not to let me get in God's way here! Pray for me that I can do that gracefully? Thanks!