Today is going to be busy, because I must officiate at the solemn occasion of a funeral for some local farmer’s brats who appear to have met their demise in some sort of mysterious firearm accident last Saturday.
Now I’ll be frank, under normal circumstances I refuse to conduct funeral services for anyone not a regular tithing member of our congregation. After all, does a supermarket allow the rabble to enter and purchase just a single loaf of bread and some milk? Does the local shopping mall permit people to avail themselves of their services for anything less than a full weekly shop? Of course not! Not that I ever do any grocery shopping myself, you must understand. The Bible teaches that such women’s work is beneath the Spiritual Head of the Household, but Consuella and the other domestics have explained these things to me in accounting for their budget, and it all makes perfect sense.
If you want to enjoy the Church’s good times you’ve got to give generously in the bad; that’s what I always say. Simply thinking that Christianity is some means through which we find God’s comfort and blessing is ridiculous. The Church is a place where sinners come to learn the meat of The Word, and if they don’t eat their meat how can they have any pudding?
However if the wedding, baptism or funeral falls into the category of what Bible Teachers call strategic ministry I am more than willing to make an exception. Normally the grounds by which these circumstances may be discerned are quite straightforward: how wealthy are the persons in question, and how much are they willing to pay? Yet sometimes other factors need to be considered, such as will there be a significant media presence attending the event, and by allowing it to take place will I be seen on television proclaiming the Scriptures like a true GAFCON teacher?
In this instance the latter most definitely applies. Few occasions allow a Priest to appear more caring and compassionate than the burial of someone’s deceased offspring. After all, it’s not as if any preparation as time-consuming as writing a new homily is needed. Simply changing the names in one’s regular piece is perfectly acceptable as those attending should in any case be too grief-stricken to notice. Then afterwards it’s important to imply to everyone within earshot that of course their loved one is now resting with Christ, but if they don’t show up this coming Sunday with a large donation and a matching eagerness to study the Scriptures there’s no chance of them ever meeting again. Properly executed this technique is a powerful tool for church growth, and let’s face it, at times like these it’s numbers that the Bible-believing church is really all about.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.