What Do You Say?

Wednesday, May 13, 1998

Matthew 10:19 – Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say.

What do you say at a memorial, or funeral service where the deceased has lived a lifestyle not quite like yours?

A few years ago I was called by a mom and dad whom I had married some years before. They had a son who owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. One morning it spun out on a curve and the son was killed. What a feeling when I got to the funeral home to find hundreds (yes — hundreds) of bikes lined up outside. Leather was everywhere and with it the insignia of Hell's Angels.

In the chapel every corner was filled. Bikes, biker ladies, bikers and a few family friends. There I was, in clerical collar and cross. And here is where you can believe that we need not be anxious. I opened my mouth and it said: "I believe in perhaps the strangest thing one can ever believe in, and that is that One has been raised from the dead so that we too might be raised up." And on I went. At the end one big guy, oil and leather, came over and hugged me — really hugged me. Another came over, shook my hand and said that he believed what I had said as well. Then I saw the group, looking like the others, only the insignia on their backs was a cross: "Bikers for Jesus". And what a procession there was to the gravesite: hundreds of bikes, bikers and biker ladies, all with helmets off. And there, I took the sand, and, making the sign of the cross on the casket, said the words "In hope of resurrection to eternal life." Nearly all there came, took some sand, and added to the sign.

Others may not have hope in being raised on "that gettin' up mornin'", but we who have the Word can speak it. And it will not return empty.

Prayer: Lord, you see the sparrow fall, it meets your tender view; may we always live in knowing you love us too, each and every one. Amen.

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George Peters

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