I have attended three funeral services led by a particular church Minister. Two were stirring and provocative, the stuff that crushing crusading zeal must have been made of. The most recent service was toned down, it was milder by comparison to the others. There was the exclusion clause that I have come to expect in services; a variation of… you are only a member of the ‘in-crowd’ and get the esoteric religious benefits, if, you believe as the Minister believes.
The recent sermon, based on the Twenty-Third Psalm, (King David’s Psalm) required a leap of belief, one that I could not muster. I even leafed through the bible placed on the ledge in the pew to try and find anything that might imply the conclusion drawn and delivered by the Minister. To remind you, the Psalm as printed in current British bibles, begins, ‘The Lord is my shepherd’.
The interpretation the Minister gave of “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of The Lord, forever”, was…
If you, (us, the mourners) believe in Jesus Christ, who is ‘The Lord’, he will look after you, (us) in life and after death.
There is a fundamental misinterpretation in my view, and also, another variation of the exclusion clause I mentioned. King David was not contemporary with Christ; his Psalm of praise, if sung at the time of David’s own existence would be in a totally different time and religious context.