|The Original (Bro. Paul's Funeral)
Every now and then someone asks just where Bro. Ernest came from. Now most folks know that he is my alter ego (aka: Garey Southern). And as Bro. Ernest, I can say things in humor that I might not get by with otherwise. Anyway, back a few years ago, Paul, the director of the Single Again Sunday School Department, had given his heart to Shirley and a date had been set. The department had decided to give a roast as one of their monthly socials. And several of us were asked to speak for or about the couple. A quartet that wouldn't be asked to join the choir was asked to provide some musical entertainment between speakers. I had racked my feeble brain as to what to say and come up empty. And I was to do my thing in another 3 hours. As I sat and watched "This Old House", it occurred to me that a funeral would be easier. I opened my Pastor's Manual and in a matter of minutes, it was written. You have to imagine a pastor such as Ernest Angsley delivering the eulogy (he pronounced Jesus as three syllables) or a combination of all the worst attributes you have seen in pastors. And so, Brother Ernest takes the dias:
He turns to the quatet who have just finished a rather ribald number
Thank you choir, that was truly inspirational.
Friends, We are gathered on this solemn occaision to mourn the passing of our fallen brother -- Paul. Taken from us by this shameless painted woman, in what we assume was the very prime of his life, we take this opportunity to note his accomplishments and to remember his many fine qualities. When Dot asked me to speak on Paul's behalf, I immediately started listing these things we wish to remember about him.
(long pause - shuffle notes)Failing this, I approached several people who knew Paul better than I did and asked them what they most remembered about Paul. And they all had the same answer: "Paul who?" We must face it; Paul was dull. We take this time to honor him because he made so many of us look good! It is our custom to turn to the scriptures for comfort. I asked Bro. Roger if he knew of any verse that he associated with Paul. He told me that 1st Thessalonians 4:13 came immediately to mind as he had so often quoted it to Paul in Trustee's meetings and after sermons.
Out of context -- really emphasize pause on commas "I would not have you, Ignorant Brother, concerning them that fall asleep, even as the rest who have no hope." And so, as our ranks have again been invaded and removed from the walks of life as we know it, our beloved Brother Paul, his very soul, having departed to dwell in "the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns," it has become our sad duty to commit his body to Shirley. And now congregation, let me leave you with these words by Edward Pollock*:
Gradually change to normal voice as this is read
God wills it so, and so it is; The pilgrims on their way, Though weak and worn, more cheerful are Than all the rest who stay. And when, at last, poor man, subdued, Lies down to death resigned, May he not still be happier far Than those he leaves behind!
Last stanza of The Parting Hour by Edward Pollock.