Special to the Tribune-Star
Archaeologists have found funeral examples in the graves of the earliest of mankind. Tools, ornaments, even remains of flowers have been found in some Neanderthal graves. It was the beginning of what we would come to call funerals.
Later on, the Etruscan civilization would have gladiator fights in respect to the people or person they were honoring at the time of his death. It, the funeral practice, was taken over by the Romans, as were so many things that Rome ran into. The ancient Greeks cremated the departed and made a celebration of the fire, and the Romans would do that as well.
Later, after Christianity took hold, people began to bury their loved ones in response to Jesus’ promise to return and raise others with him.
I avoided, like so many young people, funerals that I could avoid, but that has come to a screeching halt as I have gotten older. It’s the older people who uphold the memories and who come to a funeral to honor not only the fallen one, but to relive and cherish, again, those memories.
I attended Carl Horsley’s funeral because he was a brother to my wife’s sister-in-law and it was a family thing to do. I had met Carl and thought him to be a knowledgeable and nice man.
I have a difficult time with preachers, ministers and pastors who use this audience, which is there to honor this person in their death, as an opportunity to preach.
A few years ago, a young woman with whom I worked and her 12-year-old daughter were killed in the same automobile accident. At their funeral service, the minister used this captive audience to deliver a sermon. It sounded very much like a tent meeting … not nearly enough about the fallen and the missed opportunities for the very young girl and her young mother. Had I not gone with other people, I would have gotten up and walked out.
This did not happen at Mr. Horsley’s funeral. The minister was Larry McAdams, who is from the Franklin Memorial Christian Church in Franklin, Indiana. He talked of Carl’s life, how sometimes it was difficult, sometimes not, and his individual search for knowledge in history, archaeology, geography, politics and just about anything else Mr. Horsley could read about. He talked about how his family just loved him and how close they were. Pastor McAdams, with this information, made me feel as if I had known Carl Horsley for a lifetime, and I liked what I learned that morning.
We can see how the rights of passage have changed over the years and how I left the funeral home feeling good about attending. It made, for me, a rare feeling. It also made for me a wish that I had gotten to know Carl Horsley better.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.