It has definitely been an eventful and somewhat difficult month here in this small Indiana town, particularly in the life of my congregation. We had two people pass away within a week of one another, a member who lost everything in a house fire, and some other unique pastoral care situations. But life in ministry is never really boring, and every now and then some really strange things happen. Let me explain.
During the funeral luncheon of a church member who had died, I was approached and asked about a mysterious looking marble container that was found on a table in the church. It was found in a plastic Walmart bag. I knew immediately when I unwrapped the bag and took the container out that it was an urn. And not just any urn- an urn that contained the remains of an infant boy who was born and who died in 2003. The name label on the bottom of it was the only thing that told this information. So I began to ask around about it to see if it belonged to anyone, and no one knew a thing about it…not even how it came to be there inside the church. The next Sunday, I asked the congregation about it and no one came forward except for one of our trustees who said that he had found it on the back steps of the church and had taken it inside. Ok, mystery solved there. According to some internet research, this boy lived and died in Indiana, but I have yet to find an obituary, a funeral home where he was, names of family members, or any other information. Still no one has come forward to claim it or know anything about it.
Later on that same day, I was walking my dog behind our house in the wide open space that is our backyard down by the small lake. All of the sudden, I heard a male voice call my name. It sounded like it was coming from our neighbor’s house. I thought maybe it was a dog barking somewhere that may have come across the field and I mistook it for my name being called. But then, 10 seconds later, it happened again, loud and very clear, but no one was anywhere in sight. I yelled out, “Yes?! Hello?” No response. Things like this normally do not happen to me…I either thought I was going crazy, my neighbor was messing with me, or there was really someone or something calling my name. I did know one thing: I was sufficiently creeped out. Later that night, I emailed my neighbor to see if he had called my name for some reason, and his response was that he had no idea that we were even home from vacation. Creepy.
So that day I had spent time in a graveyard doing a graveside service, I had found the mysterious remains of an infant, and had a mysterious voice call my name. You know…just another day in ministry…