Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Just back from Bev Gray's funeral, which was good, as those things go, I suppose. It was a bit too religious for this agnostic's tastes, but it is a relief in a way how religious people seem to have it all figured out and go about dealing with death in such a predictable, comfortable fashion. We agnostics just flail about feeling miserable.

I didn't think that I would know any of the hymns, but it turned out that I did; it's just that the words had changed. Same for the Scripture readings. I understand that the King James Bible doesn't cut it for serious scholarship anymore, but it still makes a fine accompaniment to the grave. "I walk through the darkest valley" can't hold even a feeble candle to "I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." And "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long" is scant consolation to someone who grew up expecting to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Bev, who knew the language, would have appreciated the difference.

Enough quibbles. It was a fitting sendoff to a fine woman. But I got a bit of a shock when I put on my sports coat to go the funeral. In the left pocket was the program from the last funeral I attended, that of Paul Russell Brown just over a year ago.

When today's service ended, I put Bev's program in the same pocket. With luck, I thought, the pocket will one day be filled with death notices of all of those dear to me. With less luck, somebody else will have to empty the pocket so I can be buried in that coat.

A bitter thought. I think I had better pull out my King James.

1 comment:

Chuck Rightmire said...

A year or so ago, Internet Infidels had quite a debate on the preeminence of the King James Bible or the New Revised Bible. I'm not sure if anyone won. Probably both arguments lost, but I thought it had been a settled issue with both Biblical scholars and literature experts. New Revised was the preferred for the Bible experts; King James for those who loved language.