I’ve traveled a long way. I’m the preacher from across the pond who has dropped everything in the face of tragedy, reached out, and said, “Sure, I’ll come to the funeral. How could I not? I’ll use air miles. And yes, I’ll preach. Be glad to.”
At the funeral I’m surrounded by old friends, parishioners, and acquaintances. And then comes a word of recognition: “Sam!” And she’s before me, thrilled to see me, full of memories, energy, sadness—about the tragic circumstances—but also bursting with appreciation for my ministry, my moving sermon, and how marvelous I was when I used to be here—all the things pastors pretend people shouldn’t say but in fact crave.