I attended the memorial service of a friend today. She was marvelous, and the service was an apt remembrance of why we all loved her so much. Lots of music, some lovely reminiscences, the beautiful liturgy, many friends from different parts of her life. And good food at a reception afterwards.
The only slightly off note was a remembrance from a friend from her younger days, who went on and on and on and on. Unprepared, rambling, longer than most sermons...I could see the homilist getting nervous and wondering how he might gracefully bring the very long speech to an end. The other two remembrances were wonderful: poignant, loving, even theological, well prepared and delivered with brevity and grace.
And tomorrow I will be presiding at such a service, and I know there will be three remembrances from friends of the dearly departed. The widower has asked them to speak briefly. I wonder if I should have spoken to them, too...but I also wonder what I might have said to help ensure that they will be like the two remembrances that were so lovely today, rather than the one that made everyone squirmy. My liturgics prof said to avoid these eulogies at all costs, but that's easier said than done.
So, clergy pals out there, how do you address this?