We just got back from our friend’s funeral. It’s never easy to bury anyone, but it’s especially difficult to bury a 34 year old.
It was a Catholic service. I didn’t grow up Catholic, so I don’t even know how to pantomime the gestures if I wanted to. Not that I care to learn.
It’s easy to sit back as an outsider and poke fun at the rituals and the traditions. I’m not going to rehash any of that here. There’s no reason. It’s an easy target.
I was taken aback by the sermon, and I’m going to write about that. The priest talked about the first palm Sunday. He talked about Jesus riding in not on a white stallion, but on a measly donkey. I thought he was going to elaborate on the bible story, and it actually peaked my interest.
But the story took a turn. I know the bible well, and I never heard the part of the story he told next. He said that two Greeks showed up and asked Philip if they could see Jesus. Being a great guy, Philip brought the Greeks to Andrew. And Andrew brought the Greeks to Jesus.
The priest said, “We don’t know exactly what the Greeks said to Jesus, but we have a pretty good idea.” Then the priest told us what hypothetically happened.
He said, “The Greeks told Jesus that he should go back to Greece with them, because in Greece, they respect wise people. Here, they will kill you for being wise. The only wise man we killed was Socrates, and we regret making him take the hemlock. But, Jesus, you should really go with us back to Greece.”
I couldn’t believe that this priest has made up this story. What the hell did it have to do with our friend Kevin’s life or death?
What gets me is how little the services are directed toward memorializing the dead person. When I go to a funeral, I want to learn more about the person. I want to know intimate details.
Remember that thing parents tell children, that there’s nobody like you. If there’s no one like Kevin, then there are surely going to be stories we can learn about him. Tidbits. Information.
I don’t think this about Kevin and his family, but death faces us with the idea that we really don’t know the person who died. Religion serves as a distraction. It helps through the ritual of burial, but it doesn’t help us with the inevitability of death and dealing with that fact.
Oh well. It’s a funeral, and I don’t want to take all the fun out of funerals, right? If we didn’t have them, what we would have to look forward to?