I am going to do something that is odd and unfamiliar to me. My friend Anna (sister to the best man at my wedding) died Sunday night, aged 29, after a 5 and a half year battle against ovarian cancer. Her funeral is this morning at the cathedral in OKC. I have been asked to give the Eulogy before the service proper begins by the family (I think I am becoming the designated public speaker by my friends from college).
I know what I will say - but it won't be a sermon. It will be a Euology as asked (and is a fitting - it is not my place there to preach the Gospel). And I will speak words of praise and thanksgiving - but it highlights why I don't like Eulogies.
It will ultimately be nothing but law. No matter now much I praise Anna, no matter how eloquently I point out how she was a blessing to us from God - she is still dead. And thus it all becomes law, it all highlights the wages of sin.
Now, hopefully, the service will follow with some Gospel (the priest is an excellent fellow whom I do like quite a bit) - but it won't be me proclaiming it. At least not until afterwards, face to face to my friends.
I'll end with just a touch of escatelogical hope, a sentence or two at the end on the hopes we have for the resurrection on account of Christ (I cannot speak nothing but law - that is simply not who I am). . . but it's not the full comfort that should be there, that I would then give if I doing the service to follow myself, but it's not my place or task to speak as such there. This is completely reinforcing why there is such wisdom in Liturgical Lutheranism for eschewing eulogies. I will do this well -- and hopefully the priest will knock down the pins which I have shown to be set up -- but I can also see how clearly these things could be done horribly.
All praise to God for Anna
A fighter brave and kind
whose care for friend and family
was foremost in her mind
May we when faced with struggles
like her have love to share
and strength to be God's blessing
To those for whom we care.