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June Pelo
05-01-07, 17:14
As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a grave-side service for a homeless man, with no family or friends, who had died while traveling through the area. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; And being a typical man did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew,who was eating lunch, but the hearse was nowhere in sight. I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave where I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them long, but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch.
I poured out my heart and soul. As I preached the workers began to say "Amen," "Praise the Lord," and "Glory." I preached, and I preached, like I'd never preached before: From Genesis all the way to Revelation. I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car. I felt I had done my duty for the homeless man, and the crew would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of my tardiness.
As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another "I ain't never seen anything like this before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

John C. Fitts, staff chaplain
Morton Plant North Bay Hospital

June :p