Mack Williams: Benefits
This week’s column is decidedly religious in nature, so I won’t be surprised if it winds up in the religion section of the newspaper. After all, I may have mentioned before that back at Appalachian, the idea of becoming a minister did pass through my mind; but I was put off of the whole thing by the frightful prospect of having to compose a bit of prose every week.
Having touched a bit on my “density”(not physical mass), I’ll continue with today’s column:
Just a couple weeks ago, a gentleman, a medical doctor had joined our church after moving here from elsewhere. His daughter, a member of our congregation is married to a physician as well (evidently, in a paraphrase, she “Wanted a man just like the man who married dear old mom.”).
In front of the congregation with his wife, family, and church Elders, he swore (well, not really “swore”) his faith. I noticed the look of natural elegance in his face that was passed down also to his daughter’s visage.
A week later, little messages began to appear in the upper right hand portion of my computer screen from our churches “chat,”(not a Dana Carvey-type “church chat,” but Presbyterian). And being Presbyterian, I always think back to Burt Lancaster’s portrayal of Elmer Gantry (in the movie of the same name) when he made the statement, “Even the horizontal, perpendicular Presbyterians.”
These messages appeared and went on the screen sort of like the little “orbs” of likes or hearts which appear whenever there’s a live Facebook appearance at Mount Vernon of George Washington (or his “helper,” except that George was real, as opposed to the man from the North Pole aided by “stand-ins.”)
The messages appearing on my screen had nothing to do with Virginia or Revolutionary War history, but the history and life of that gentleman I had just seen join our church the week before. He had just passed away, and judging by the messages, his life had been a rich one of service by both his profession as a physician, as well as all his other dealings with his fellow man.
Scores of members of our church family were already speaking of what food items they would bring to the family’s home for a “bereavement meal” following the memorial service.
When the time came for the service, the church was as packed as it had been at the Christmas Eve service.
I was amazed at the great number in attendance, as the gentleman had just joined our church only about a week before. Even calling myself “getting there early,” I had to park a block away. But then, his daughter and her physician husband had been members there for many, many years. But even so, it was his funeral, not hers.
I know the parishioners were there to support the deceased gentleman’s daughter and husband; but I just couldn’t shake the wonderful feeling that having been a member of that church for only a week, he was entitled to all of the benefits and Sacraments that come with it (although I knew he had already been a Christian, and member of a previous church). He received all that was due.
In my social worker days, our director, Mr. Robert Gribble reminded workers to be as precise as possible in determining the client’s eligibility; for income a dollar over the limit meant they received nothing, whereas a dollar below it meant they received everything due them.
But in matters of faith, “making of application” only means “professing.”
I reflected on my insurance policy, in which the funeral is covered after five years of monthly deductions. I’ve had it 10 years, so I’m covered (and when the time comes, I’ll be “covered” too).
When insurance-comparison shopping, the Church’s “benefits” are unmatched. There’s no “waiting period,” except something we’re already doing (life); and the “policy maturation” can’t be beat!
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