Tears of Joy and Tears of Sorrow

by Glen H. Jones

Pastors and other religious leaders who are called on to conduct weddings and funerals may add this book to their pastoral reference shelf. Brannon has taken two subjects-marriage and divorce-in which ministers often need ready assistance. In both endeavors the author believes that ministers must emphasize spiritual rather than humanistic values. The suggestions this writer makes are general remarks that pastors in different denominations can adapt to meet their own convictions. The minister should be involved in most aspects of the wedding. He must assist in the planning, pre-marital counseling, and in consultation with the wedding director. He must be assured that the music is appropriate for the church. The pastor will sometimes be asked to help with the makeup of the attending party and the rehearsal. Brannon includes a few sample wedding ceremonies. Funerals provide opportunity for the pastor to emphasize the spiritual aspect of death. He states: "The centerpiece of the Christian funeral service is always the proclamation of Christ's victory over death and His promise that we shall share in that victory!" (p. 113). The minister should not overemphasize the goodness of the departed unless he is certain he knows his facts are true. Fictionalizing the dead's supposed good deeds does not usually provide comfort to the family. On the other hand, the pastor should not dwell excessively on the evils of the dead. Rather, the minister should dwell on salvation and deliverance offered through Jesus Christ to those who are still alive. This writer's personal preference is that funeral be held in the church. Visitation could be in the church's fellowship hall.
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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