Go Great Circle

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On the occasion of my forthcoming death

Note: I am part of a group that hangs out on G-Plus (Google +) called "Selfie Sunday" -- On every other week or so, we post a self portrait of ourselves, and in turn look at, and comment on each other's self portraits.  This week was a Halloween theme.  As is, I am not too fond of Halloween's obsession with darkness, though in an abstract way, I think reflection on death can be a good thing.  So here is my photo contribution to the day, with a reflection - beyond the grave.

Recently I had occasion to go to the memorial service of a truly outstanding young man, Cris -- “The Romanian” – a pre-med student at the University of Central Arkansas. Cris was a special light. At 22 he loved life, blushed loudly, took in knowledge with unbridled curiosity, and otherwise lived with a intensity in before God and man that is simply rare. (Someone said they now understood -- Cris had to fit 70 years into 22.)

That, in combination with the death or declining health of others near to me, has led to on a odd stream of introspection. (For whatever reasons, my mom often thought about death, even to the point of giving instruction for her “Coming home” celebration. So --- as part of a family tradition, here is a list of things I would like to see at my funeral. Which of course, assumes that I might be permitted to look in on such things. I don’t know. Perhaps I will have no interest.

The major songs.

Be Thou My Vision.

Immortal Invisible

Like a River Glorious (my favorite hymn as a kid.)

And He will Purify (From Handle’s Messiah)

Going up Yonder (the latter two sung by Marvin or the Philander Smith Gospel Choir)

Under no circumstances should you play a modern praise chorus. Minus points for sound track. (Funny, I loved the new praise music as a kid, and really do like some of it now, but it has so overtaken the music of the church, that I have almost come to loath it.) You may however, boldly sing “in Christ Alone” or the Revelation Song that we sometimes sing in church. (Both are modern, but they are different animals.)

Extra bonus points for inclusion of a accordion, dobra, or sitar.

Major Readings.

I Samuel 2 (the prayer of Hanna). (Just think, a woman with no formal theological training put this out… Wow.)

Psalm 104

John 1

And if you really want to make me happy, read the two last chapters of Job.

A poem of two would be nice. The Hound of Heaven is my favorite, but kind of long. Maybe Sommer could write one.


Local talent. Thom and Tina Nash. (I’m sure you will know something appropriate.) Steve Evans. (something sardonic and even bluesy, just to keep them on their toes.) Time Traywick. Burn the place down with a stomping fiddle tune, and you could wear a tie to keep the place dignified.)

Should the Budget allow

Mo Levertt. Song: Make it Go Away (its kinda dark for a funeral, but how about. And if not that. “I just want to dance with you.”

Jan Krist. I just want to Waltz with you. (Hmm. Seems like we are on a theme) Perhaps the second most beautiful song in the world.)

Terry Taylor or Randy Stonehill singing “The Beautiful One” (But watch Terry, he can be irreverent.)

Phil Keaggy. Just a little guitar number or two. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

Wendy Dooley and sibs. (I don’t know how you will pull this off, but you need to sing around each attendee in the round, just like you all did for me once. That’s harmony.

Yo Yo Ma. (Just dreaming)

John Michael Talbot. His music drives my wife kinda batty. But I am all for anything that has Baptisty types learning liturgy.

Kayla. Blow them away. You are one atom-bomb of talent, yet to go off.


It is always nice to hear your kids say something nice about you. But short of that, Edith could do an interpretive dance.  Anna could model.  Or simply be put in charge.

Wife. I like it when she posts Bruce Cockbun lyrics to me on our anniversary. But beyond that, the best moments of our life were spent in prayer.  It seems in these last months we are praying and meshing together like we never have.  If you could, (and through a tear or two) could you pray..... for God's Kingdom to make it some small way into our family, our nation, and the places we have been.

Kevin Hunt. Ask him to use some special words.

Pastor Ken (always has the most appropriate And Powerful things to say.)

My boss….it would just be kind’ a neat.

Ps. While I certainly won’t mind if you say nice things about me you should also share some of the areas in my life that are out of order. Or where I failed. Let Christ be glorified in weakness.

Ask everyone to think of something for which I should be forgiven. Forgive me.


I would be just fine in a Urn, but if you must to the casket, go for the Western pine-board style that is kind of long and diamond shaped. Make it look really temporary.

Flowers. Only seasonal, Wild, picked from the roadside.

Not really sure I want you to find my Kierkmister photo file. Lots of fun, but maybe a little too whacked out for the occasion.

While I wouldn’t mind if you showed some of my art photos, I think it would be better if everyone submitted a few of their own, depicting glorious things.

Bolo ties. Hand mine out. I have about 80. Anyone who wanted one could wear one.

All the Repubs should wear Obama pins, all the Dems, Palin 9?) pins. (I wouldn’t even do the latter.) The purpose is to embrace a little cognitive dissonance.

Closing. Someone should tell the “whale joke” No one should laugh.


As for my marker:

“He put down his camera. Now he sees.”

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