“Tim” was a well-liked under-thirty professional, working in his family’s practice in a small town. He was very close to his sister, who got married recently. On the night of her wedding, as “Tim” was driving home from her reception, he was killed in a car wreck. Tragic, shocking, and heartbreaking for many people, and the loss coming on his sister’s wedding day made it even worse.
At the funeral, the church was packed, as was the parish hall and the nursery, both of which had feeds to the service on TV screens. I had attended this church for many years before transferring to a different town, I had taught this young man in Sunday School when he was younger, and my grown daughter knew him quite well, so of course I went to the funeral. Even though I was a good bit early, I had to sit in the parish hall, as the church had overflowed already – my daughter was in the church, but was jammed in a pew with others. I didn’t know the people around me in my immediate seating area in the parish hall; a few seats over from me was a man I didn’t know who was rather talkative and jovial as we waited for the funeral to start. It was irritating to me, but he wasn’t out of hand and what was I going to do, go over there and make a scene? I was just grateful he was in the parish hall, where the family couldn’t hear him chuckling. Seats were at a premium and they were bringing in folding chairs scrounged from everywhere, but this man chose to place his suit coat on the empty chair in front of him, thus keeping it from being used to seat someone.
This service included communion, which in this denomination means wine from a chalice. As we came back from filing through to take communion, I heard in disbelief this man making jokes about “that punch they served in there,” as he referred to the sacramental wine. He also made some small joking comments about the priest’s sermon as we watched on the TV screen – I happened to know this priest was close to the bereaved family, and was visibly choking back tears on several occasions, so I failed to see anything humorous in his sincere sermon. Later, this guy said he was hot, and needed some more of that punch. As the service concluded and we filed outside to greet the grieving family and offer hugs, this joker says, “I’m going to go to my car and get me some A/C!”, this time loud enough for all to hear, including the mourning family.
Seriously, why did this man come to this funeral? All I know is that he was anything but respectful. 0512-14