I went to a funeral today. Not my favorite thing to do, but necessary. My very good friend Gary lost his dad. His name was Felipe. I had only met his dad once but knew of him and heard great stories about him all the time. As I sat in the back row of the sanctuary, waiting for the service to begin, I focused my attention on the two large screens up front which were streaming a slide show of Felipe’s life. The screens showed Felipe with tons of different family members, in tons of different places, in every picture! Wow, I thought, “I didn’t realize how big Gary’s family actually was.” And then I looked around the room which was packed full of the same people that I had been watching on the screens!
It is often said that families only gather for weddings and funerals, which sadly, is often the case. But not this family! Felipe made sure that his family was around himself and each other for more than just “major events”. Family members shared touching stories about their dad, grandpa, uncle and friend, including a handwritten note by a granddaughter that was read by her dad. When the note was finished, (and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place), it was clear that Gary’s dad was close to everyone in the family from the oldest to the youngest.
A lot of people think of their family members as giant pains or huge inconveniences that they would rather not be around if they had their choice. And sadly, I think that happens in the family of God. “Let’s skip life group tonight, those people are nuts”. “I’m tired of seeing the same people week in and week out”. Have you ever heard that? Have you ever said that? When we say those things or at least think those things, it proves that we don’t get it. God wants us to surround ourselves with our families so that we can laugh together, play together, eat together, cook together, cry together, learn together, pray together………………be a family together! Gary’s dad understood the importance of family and I saw it today at his funeral. Felipe got it! How bout you???
Frank P. Zummo