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How many of you have seen the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral? It’s a British film from nearly 30 years ago that traces the lives of a group of friends as they experience… well, four weddings and one funeral. The writer/director, Richard Curtis, went on to make Love, Actually, one of the classic Christmas movies.
A few years ago, Hulu created a miniseries of the same name. With ten hours (rather than just two) to tell the story, a new group of friends experiences even more drama and laughs as they navigate life together. And, yes, there are still four weddings and a funeral.
The titular funeral is actually one of my favorite moments in the show – for reasons I won’t share thanks to spoilers. But would it surprise you to learn that one of my favorite parts of being a pastor is officiating funerals?
I mean… who enjoys a funeral?
No one. I don’t. But I’ve found that being invited into a family’s grief can be really sacred. The opportunity I have to help them grieve well, to honor their departed loved one, to navigate the complex and complicated emotions that come with grief. It’s not fun, but it’s deeply good.
Weddings and funerals are some of the ways we mark out our lives. They mark times of transition – from one family to another, from life to death. That’s why every culture in the world has wedding and funeral rituals.
So what does it mean when someone doesn’t attend one?
It’s a signal flare that something is very wrong, isn’t it?
So you can imagine that, for God to tell a prophet to withdraw from weddings and funerals would be a sign something is deeply wrong. And that’s exactly what we’re going to see today.