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Eulogies Ring False

Funerals of pastors are solemn affairs. At times when I attend one, however, I am struck by a strange kind of irony. After a lifetime of ministry supposedly focused on grace, we bring the poor soul to his grave with eloquent eulogies and high tributes that give the lie to it all. All the deceased's good works are magnified and, of course, all shortcomings passed over.

I am often reminded at such times of Lincoln's remark at the burial of one of his generals "If he had known he'd get a funeral like this, he'd have died much sooner." It is our vexing temptation, isn't it, not only in death but throughout life. We think we are a gift to God himself instead of remembering that ordained ministry is a gift to us.

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