Before giving up on this blog as an attempt to impress you with big words, understand that I am the plainest speaking educated man in the world. I have a doctorate degree but I write and speak at a Junior High level. That is not false humility. This is the way I think it should be. Concepts were meant to be communicated and understood, not shrouded.
So my alternate title is this: Paid Mourners and Paid Fans-I Get It! I just learned the word moiroogist today as I was doing some research about paid mourners. A moirologist is a paid mourner. In the Bible there were both paid mourners as well as celebrants.
I used to think it was the strangest practice to hire professional mourners or fans, but now I think I get it.
Professional mourning was a common practice in ancient Egypt. A person’s status was determined by how many people attended the funeral. Paid mourners were hired to ensure everyone knew the importance of their loved one. Often women were hired for their ability to cry loud and be hysterical on demand. (sorry women this is a history lesson, not a judgement on gender temperaments). Women would throw dust in their hair, wail loudly and throw their arms wildly. The more dramatic they mourned, the better they were paid. Listen to these words from Amos in the Bible.
Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, says: “There will be crying in all the public squares and mourning in every street. Call for the farmers to weep with you, and summon professional mourners to wail. Amos 5:16
I’m writing this because as a pastor, I think our culture is not good at mourning or celebrating. Funerals are poorly attended these days because we are all so busy with the rat race of life. We could used some professional mourners.
Additionally, we aren’t that good at celebrating either. Oh, I know there are high profile sports teams that fill stadiums, but often national champions in lesser known sports go almost unnoticed. Celebrating and celebrants were very important in the Bible.
When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’” 1 Samuel 18:6-7
“Go David, Go David, Go David” is what we might see today.
My daughter Kristiana is a professional fan. She is not a huge basketball fan but in each of her three years in college, her school’s women’s basketball team has made it to the National Championships for NAIA schools which is no small feat. Her freeman year, she heard that the college would pay her expenses to travel to Iowa and cheer for the team. They put her in a hotel, feed her and pay her travel expenses to cheer for the team. And cheer she does! She paints her face, wears out her voice and she recruits random fans who aren’t cheering for any team to cheer for her Lady Bobcats. The Lady Bobcats barely made the tournament this year, but amazingly they keep winning. They are in the Final Four and play tonight after knocking off the number one and number two seeds. One of their secrets is that have seriously the best fans at the tournament. They are loud and rowdy and encouraging in a sport that often lacks for fans.
I think social media is a place where people share their joys and sorrows. Most Facebook posts are either a joy to be celebrated or a sorrow to be lamented. What would happen if we mourned and cheered for one another.
The least thing we can do for one another is to touch the “like” button under a post. How much effort does it take to scroll the arrow over a post and press “LIKE” Like simply acknowledges that you read the post and than you are either celebrating with or you felt their sorrow.
For the more adventurous, you might take a minute or less and write a quick comment. You may say “Happy birthday” or “Your baby is beautiful” That’s being a fan of one another.
I want Life Church to be known as a church that celebrates and mourns with one another. This is what the community of faith does. Many of you in the church write me little notes of encouragement or say little things about a sermon or something I wrote and it means so much to me. Let’s all do that for one another.
Take a nano second and hit the “like” button or a short moment and make a comment. Its a little encouragement to all those who are celebrating or lamenting.
Kristiana and her friends have cheered on their team so well that they have performed their way into the Final Four. I firmly believe that we make one another better by cheering and mourning for each other.
What do you say we be one another’s fans and mourners? If this article was helpful, please hit the “like” button. If not, pretend you didn’t read it.
Life Church Knoxville
We're an inter denominational church in Knoxville, Tennessee that believes that all people matter and should experience the love and power that comes along with a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.