Generous Orthodoxy  




Saturday, February 20, 2016

Justice Scalia's funeral sets an example for us all

Once before I posted about a near-perfect funeral:

http://ruminations.generousorthodoxy.org/2013/10/in-praise-of-miserable-offenders.html

From what I have read so far, Justice Scalia's funeral was pretty much perfect also. Clergy of all denominations, and those of us planning our own funerals, please take note!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/antonin-scalias-funeral-will-reflect-a-life-of-faith/2016/02/20/2c12290c-d778-11e5-b195-2e29a4e13425_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop_b

Best of all, perhaps, to get the idea in just a couple of minutes, read the letter that Scalia wrote in 1998 after attending the funeral of Justice Lewis Powell at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond. He wrote to compliment the presiding minister: 
In my aging years, I have attended so many funerals of prominent people that I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. When the deceased and his family are nonbelievers, of course, there is not much to be said except praise for the departed who is no more. But even in Christian services conducted for deceased Christians, I am surprised at how often eulogy is the centerpiece of the service, rather than (as it was in your church) the Resurrection of Christ, and the eternal life which follows from that...Even when the deceased was an admirable person--indeed, especially when the deceased was an admirable person--praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for, and giving thanks for, God's inexplicable mercy to a sinner....Perhaps the clergymen who conduct relatively secular services are moved by a desire not to offend the nonbelievers in attendance--whose numbers tend to increase in proportion to the prominence of the deceased. What a great mistake.  Weddings and funerals (but especially funerals) are the principal occasions left in modern America when you can preach the Good News not just to the faithful, but to those who have never really heard it.