I read a very good article this morning by Matthew Perry on "The Importance of Attending a Funeral" (http://gospelgripped.com/2012/03/13/the-importance-of-attending-a-funeral/). It resonated with me because over the years I have performed approximately 35 funerals (many of those for relatives of people in our church). I have also performed nearly 40 weddings. A wedding and funeral are both body life events. They are very important events in the lives of the people who are involved. They provide an opportunity for a ministry of presence.
Often times I hear people say, "We didn’t know so and so" and they decide not to attend the funeral. Or they say, "We aren’t very close to so and so" and so they don’t attend the wedding. What we need to understand is that there is something more important than how well you knew the deceased or how well you know the couple getting married. There is a ministry of presence. Just being there is a way to fulfill "rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15). Your family’s presence is a way to say to the family of the deceased, "we care about you and we know this is a major event in your life." It says the same to the couple and their repsective families at a wedding.
I want to encourage all of us to think about weddings and funerals not in terms of how close we are or how well we knew the person, and rather look at it as an opportunity to do to others as we would have them do to us. Obviously we cannot attend every wedding or funeral related to our church body. Sometimes we are providentially hindered. Even in those cases, let the person know how much you wished you could have been there.
Weddings and funerals gives us opportunity to give the gift of our presence, bringing to life the truth, "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Cor. 12:26).
For healthier body life