Recently, a great family friend passed away. She had been a great part of my life and my family’s life. I can remember how she always greeted me with her smile and her loving demeanor every time I saw her. In her final days, I was so glad to visit her and to see that smile once more. I know she is smiling above and living peacefully.
When the news of her passing away, I was asked to be part of the funeral activities and asked to read a bible passage in honor of her and her family. I was honestly so surprised and got really nervous. I have never read a bible passage at church before and definitely, not in front of a group. Within my nervousness, I realized that it was a blessing to be asked to serve and be a part of this celebration. I was humbled and graciously accepted the responsibility.
Leading up to the day of the mass, I was getting more nervous. I just didn’t want to mess up the reading. I struggle with pronouncing certain words, especially in biblical words. This is partly because I tend to read too fast and my eyes are moving too quickly across the words. In my nervous state, I decided to seek help. I asked a friend for some advice. He told me to feel the words of God and that the feeling will help me deliver a great reading. His advice was soothing. I said a few prayers and read the passage a few times out loud. I felt more at ease as I heard myself read each word. I reminded myself to slow down and accentuate properly to emphasize key phrases and words. Soon, I felt confident. The advice, prayer and rehearsing really helped.
Upon arrival to the church, the butterflies in my stomach starting flying. I took a deep breath and whispered a prayer. I felt a great surge of energy and confidence. When it was my time to deliver the reading, I walked up, took a deep breath and thanked God for this blessing. In the back of my head, I was telling myself not to skip any words or sentences. As I read, I thought I was completely skipping over the words and was lost. It was a unique experience for me to describe how I was feeling as I was reading. Apparently, I was reading all the words and sentences with the right speed and emphasis even though I thought I was completely lost. This is where I credit God for guiding me through this reading. My eyes were locked in and my mouth was delivering the exact words of God. In that moment, I was not in control and was letting the Holy Spirit guide me. It was quite an experience feeling lost and at the same time, delivering God’s words.
As I finished the reading, I looked up and scanned the crowd. It felt great seeing warm faces acknowledging a successful end to the reading. I said “Thanks be to God” and returned to my seat. I was greeted with a “Great Job” from one of the family members. I served the family and deceased well. I was happy to have been blessed to do something I never thought I would. It was truly a call from above.
Here is the passage:
A reading from the Second Book of Corinthians
For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.