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One of the things I do is graveside funerals. It may seem weird, but I like doing funerals more than weddings. It is such an honor to help a family say good-bye as their loved one passes on to Heaven. The guitar is THE instrument for graveside funerals. No way is a keyboard going to make it out there! I generally work with a vocalist as well.

A few weeks ago, we did a graveside funeral. The deceased was an older woman who had lived a long, very happy life surrounded by love. She had tons of grandchildren and many of them spoke. It was an overcast dreary day in Southern CA. We call it "The June Gloom". At the very end of the service, we sang a song called, "May the Angels Be Your Guide". It is a prayer that the angels will come and guide the loved one to Heaven. As we started the song, the sun came out and the sky cleared. Toward the end of the song, the clouds came back and on the very last note, the sun was completely covered again.

I know -- it was completely surreal; but I am not exaggerating one bit.

It was a reminder to me how special it is to be in this ministry.

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Replies to This Discussion

Sounds like a God thing to me. Blessings.

Fr Ed+
Yep - when it was over, the entire group just sighed. The minister said, "Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure appreciated God showing up like that!" Everyone smiled and clapped. It was the best ending to a funeral I have ever experienced.
It's so nice when a funeral can be a celebration. Thanks for sharing that story. Rev Ed is right - it was a God thing.

Walt
calm still voice
is HIS way!
This is also why being in this type of ministry is so cool, period.
Thanks for sharing Donna. God bless you!
Jerry
What a delightful blessing to share with us all. I've had the privilege to play at many funerals (some of my colleagues just dread the thought of playing a funeral ... I often find them a blessing). I have had the special privilege to do a number of funerals for individuals when I did some ministry in the MRDD community (called "special needs" now ... I've a brother with Down's Syndrome so have developed many friendships in that community). Sometimes difficult in that most of their friends had a difficult time grasping the issues surrounding death of their friend. The music was always a bridge to perhaps not an understanding but at least a coming to grips with the reality. It was some of the most fulfilling ministry I've been involved in. And Rev. Ed, speaking of God things, they come in many ways. Not long ago we had the privilege of having a 95 year old friend and her son join us at the condominium at Nye Beach on the Oregon Coast. An fellow musician, an organist, the multiple manuals cathedral (she played on some of the great cathedral organs of Europe and taught at university for years) type. She suffers from macular degeneration so with limited eyesight couldn't enjoy the sights of the coast ....... until the sunset. It began to blaze like no sunset I've ever seen and continued for nearly 45 minutes. I'll attach a photo, unretouched, of that sunset that I had the blessing to snap. She talks about that sunset to this day, 3 1/2 years later, and it seemed to revitalize her after that. She even got back to playing some organ and played happy birthday for me at my last birthday (her house is built around her organ ..... and people think that guitar players are obsessed with their instruments). Such a delight to see how He blesses us.
Doc
Attachments:
Just realized that the photo of the sunset that I included in my last reply here is the photo I used for the Gospel Guitar group icon. Because it was such a God thing to us no doubt. Now you all know the story behind the photo. Hope it blesses someone.
Doc
p.s., the organist I talked about above is, in her late 90's, though suffering physical limitations, still mentally sharp as anyone in their 20's (Another well studied and well demonstrated benefit to learning to play a musical instrument!). And though longing to be home with the Lord still feels her calling to minister to, of all people, her caregivers.
What an inspiring story! Really glad to know what's behind the sunset picture. I won't be looking at it the same way again! Thanks for sharing!
Mmm. Very cool indeed. I don't do funerals often, but on those ocassions, it's been very meaningful. A while back, I did the funeral for the husband of one of our former parishoners. Played a song called 'Knowing You'll Be There' at the request of the wife. We were in the church, so there were no meteorological phenomenae, but you could tell the Spirit was touching people.

Bob M
I've not played at a bunch of funerals, but the ones I have played at really stick in my mind, namely, the funerals of my Mother, Mother-in-Law, and Sister-in-Law. Those were the toughest, but most meaningful times I think I have ever played....
Exactly so - the funerals I've played for my own family were tough, but meaningful. Through church, I've often been called upon as well. One that was particularly tough was for a family losing their high schooler. The place was packed with friends and family. One song I played was written by a friend of mine "Be Still And Know" - after the service, the weeping parents requested a copy of it. It's tough to play the song without remembering them.
wow, how thought provoking and graceful.

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