As I read the Gospel lesson last week, the day after my father had died, I had to stop and regain my composure before telling the next line in the story.
[Jesus] said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
And I did. As best as I was able.
Tomorrow, I bury my father.
I have already committed him to the fire - an educational experience. My family connections to the funeral industry meant that I got a closer look than would have been the case for many, and my brother even pushed the button.
Tomorrow at 1:00, we will praise God, proclaim the resurrection and make our final goodbyes. For me, it is goodbye to a father who was completely absent for 20 years of my younger life, but my father nonetheless.
He was about 15 years a friend of Bill W. before our relationship was tentatively restored. Around the time of my ordination, he gave me a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous, thinking that, if nothing else, it would help me to minister to Bill's friends and pending friends.
The last 44 years of his life, whatever else they may have been, were better for the grace of a power greater than himself which restored him to sanity.