Sep 14, 2006
Of all of the rites one might conduct in the public eye, there is one which is the real test of priesthood. Other than pre-printed rites that someone might recite, there is little written about how to deal with the rite and the situations which make it needed. And yet, it is the one rite which every human being will be in the market for sometime. That one rite is the funeral.
If you stumble while officiating at a wedding, they might laugh when they see the video and perhaps even invite you to the 20th anniversary party to be the butt of some jokes. But if you do a questionable job officiating at a funeral - about all anyone can say is that you did have your chance to do it well.
There's a saying that "funerals are for the living," but that's not entirely accurate. If you believe that death is not the absolute end, a well-done funeral in which some good farewells are said, at the very least you give the deceased a better chance to rest and move on.
Weddings are important too, and most states have qualifications which you must meet if you are going to officiate at a legally binding wedding. But almost anyone can officiate at a funeral. Yet a funeral is the last chance people routinely have in this lifetime to deal with someone they've known. It needs to be done right.