Tales From the Church Refrigerator: The Saint We Thought We Knew

Another saint's faith had been made sight.

That was the comforting thought and promise as the pastor visited with the family preparing their loved one's memorial service. These are holy moments. Often tearful and difficult, but holy. A pastor is invited into a family's mourning. That requires enough humility, responsibility and authority that you would suppose the pastor would have ensured there was a box of tissue available. Pity what we don't do sometimes.

No tissues needed, as it turned out. Swelling tears were quickly followed and replaced by laughter and a good story or two. This saint was surely to be missed. And surely there would be many friends who would want to pay their last respects. This celebration of life was just as much for them as it was for the family. Throughout life, the departed saint had demonstrated genuine friendship. Now, the family would have a chance to follow suite. Arrangements were made to invite everyone to a catered dinner at the church following the memorial service.

"We are sure there will be a lot of people," the family said.

The pastor was sure to carry that message to the church members, but these things work usually work out the same way. It's hard to guesstimate how many people will attend a service and stay for a dinner. One can, however, usually figure it's not as many people as the family thinks. Usually!

After the service began chairs had to be brought into the sanctuary. Every pew was filled. The upstairs choir loft had been filled. A crowd had gathered at the cemetery and it seemed they were all there for the dinner as well. Everyone ate well and shared time with family and friends, just like the saint would have wanted.

And some in the church learned something that day.

The church did not seem to know the saint as well as everyone else did. They were surprised at how many people attended service that day. But why?

Sure, the saint was nice and funny. Always friendly, always smiling. But still just someone we went to church with. Pity that.

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