Today I was at my in-laws’ church, where they celebrated All Saints’ Day by reading the names of those who have died in the past year, and they also showed pictures and invited family & friends of the people whose names they read to stand. As I mentioned earlier this week, this is a day we could stand to give more attention to. But what especially struck me today was that the pastor, as he read the names, the pictures came up and people stood, grew more and more emotional. Most of the pictures were of older saints, although there were two young people and one child. So it was easy to think, well, old people do die. But as I watched the pastor struggle through the list of names, I thought, he probably sat with all these families during their grief, and was maybe even there with some of them when they got the news. He probably preached most of these funerals.
Being a pastor isn’t all Sunday mornings and book budgets. It’s also weeping with those who weep, being there when a family gets unspeakable news (like the family of the two-year-old whose name was read today). And as I watched this pastor weep today, I thought, what a model of the Good Shepherd, who came and entered into his people’s pain, who was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” who not only bore our sin, but wept with us: wept over Jerusalem, wept over Lazarus. And I prayed, Lord, make me that kind of pastor.
I don’t look forward to getting the call from the family who’s lost a child. But I look forward to shepherding God’s people, and I hope I remind them of and point them to the Good Shepherd, like this pastor did for me today.