A Funeral for Ruth

Today I led a funeral for woman named Ruth. She was 72 years old when she died in a nursing home in Niceville, Florida last week. The family wanted to bring her body back to Midland City for burial. Somewhere in the discussions someone suggested the funeral service be moved from the funeral home to the church where Ruth grew up. That’s how I got involved with this service.

Having never met Ruth I was dependent upon her family for details of her life that might be appropriate to share during the funeral. I learned that Ruth grew up next door to the church in a house that had once been the Baptist church before a new building was constructed. The old church building was remodeled and a wrap around porch was added and, TADA, a new house. The elementary school is across the street, and Ruth’s sister said they could wait until they heard the school bell ring and then run across the road and get to class on time.

A family member showed me a black and white 8X10 of Ruth’s wedding. She and her husband, Bob, and whole wedding party were standing with the ministers at the front of church. The same church where they put Ruth’s casket today. Ruth was a beautiful young woman, and Bob was all smiles. In fact, everyone in the wedding party was smiling, which is a feat if you think about it.

What struck me today was the appropriateness, the rightness, of conducting Ruth’s funeral a Midland City Baptist. We gathered around Ruth’s body at the front of the church...just a few feet from where she was married, a few more feet from where she was baptized, and a few more yards from the home where she grew up. The thought crossed my mind, I wonder if, during any of those special days, if she ever thought that in that very spot her family would one day hold her funeral? And I wonder how often I walk right by places, locations that will one day become significant to me?

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