July 19

Written by Bill Grandi on July 19th, 2022

Life is a series of firsts.

One would think that at my age (69) and my years of experience as a pastor (50), I would have experienced about all there is to experience.


Take that statement. I recently experienced a first- a first which will come to fruition tonight.

Saturday morning: Cell phone rings.

Me: Hey Darin! How are you? (Darin is one of the local morticians who will sometimes call if he has a family with no clergy but want someone).

Darin: Hey Bill! Doing well. How about you?

Me: Fine. Thanks.

D: Gotta favor to ask. Have a family who needs a pastor to do a funeral for them. The man’s name is __________ from Freedom. The funeral is Tuesday. They had a pastor who they thought was doing their father’s funeral but he backed out citing “family issues.” They think he ghosted them. Their father was gay.

Me: So they think he ghosted them because of that?

D: Yes.

Me: Tell them I’ll be glad to do help them out.

D: Thank you. They will be glad to know that is taken care of.

Further conversation ensued via texting names and numbers. I met with the 3 adult siblings (and the son’s wife) on Sunday afternoon for about 1 1/2 hours. We talked. Planned. I gained some insight into their father and them. We parted. I’ve received several texts from the two sisters.

The funeral is this evening. I have absolutely no qualms about doing the funeral. As one of my elders put it when I informed them: “My dad used to say, ‘Funeral are for the living, not the dead.’ ”

Hurting people are hurting people. He did die of HIV diagnosed back in the 90s. So should the family be punished? I think not. Was this man’s sin wrong? Yes. So is mine. A wedding I would never do. A funeral I would and will. If I can offer some type of comfort; if I can offer some type of hope; if I can offer Jesus to hurting people, then I will take every opportunity to do so. Am I compromising? No. I’m not being asked to put a stamp of approval on his lifestyle of choice (which he had given up years ago). My purpose is not to preach him into heaven or hell. My purpose is to offer Jesus.

So…say a prayer for me today please.  The funeral is at 7:00 tonight and if you think about it, saying a prayer for me about that time would be much appreciated. Pray that I offer the comfort of Jesus to siblings who loved their dad and now have a void (their mother passed away about 2-3 years ago).  Thanks.

Yep…life is a series of firsts.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. I will be praying for you Pastor Bill, love that you are showing love for this family.

  2. Glynn says:

    What would Jesus do? I think he would preach the funeral.

  3. Ryan S. says:

    I commend you on being able to have a balanced perspective. Not that it matters, but I agree with your reasoning and willingness to help a hurting family. We have to be willing to shine a light into the dark world, that is our purpose, that is why we are here. This doesn’t mean we have to wear a t-shirt, wear a pin, or wave a flag… This simply means being present and showing the love of Christ.

    I will be in the middle of class tonight at that time, but will be praying that God will give you the words to say and the that the hearts of the people will be open to what is shared. I also am praying for the family as they mourn the loss of dad.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Your prayers are appreciated Ryan no matter when they are said. I am really hoping the family comes away with something worth hanging onto. Their faith is non-existent or weak at best.

  4. I will definitely be praying for you, Bill, and for this grieving family.

  5. gail says:

    I’m proud that I have a pastor that will bring Jesus’s love to a hurting family, that appears to be lost. Jesus wanted to save every person, everyone, leave no one behind. I pray that after tonight the family sees that a life with Christ is full of hope, love , grace, and mercy, we all need that. Praying for you Bill, that your words bring love and peace to the family, and leave their hearts wanting to get to know Jesus.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thank you so much for praying Gail. It is after the fact and I believe some words of hope and comfort were given. I do believe there is an open door for future interaction with the family.