“Ask not for whom the bells toll,
...they toll for ewe!”
with apologies to John Donne
Photo: Peter Foley
As a young curate, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a grave side service for a derelict man who had died while traveling through the area with no family or friends. The funeral was held way back in the country.
This man would be the first to be laid to rest at this cemetery.
New to the area, I was not familiar with the backwoods roads; and, I became lost.
Being the typical man I didn’t stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late, I saw the crew and backhoe, but the hearse was no where in sight. The workmen were eating lunch.
I apologized to the workers for my tardiness (they looked puzzled at my admission). I stepped to the side of the open grave, to find the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them long, but this was the proper thing to do.
As the workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I poured out my heart and soul. As I preached the workers began to say “Amen! Praise the Lord and Glory!” (They must’ve been Baptists). I preached, and I preached, like I’d never preached before. I began from Genesis all the way to Revelation. I preached for two hours and 45 minutes. It was a lengthy service. I closed in prayer and it was finished.
As I was walking to my car, I felt that I had done my duty and would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of my tardiness. I opened the door of my car and took off my coat. Then I overheard one of the workers saying to another, “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years, and I ain’t never seen anything like this before.”