Thursday I attended the funeral of my dear friend, The Very Rev. Ernest K. Baiden. I wanted to go early because, "It will be a big funeral. We need to get a parking place and someplace to sit." said my American mind. The funeral was to begin at 5:30 in the morning. We arrived just before 5:00. Oh, no one was there. There were PLENTY of spaces to park and plenty of empty chairs! We watched as the final preparations were made whilst listening to the squeaks of bats turn into the songs of birds. Morning had come! The stage was set and the casket arrived. Notes were reviewed. We were ready to start. It was after 6:30.
Hymns were sung. Prayers were prayed. Scripture was read. Tributes were given by each of the Churches and Circuits were Rev. Baiden served. They all said the same thing. Rev. Baiden was a man who walked his talk. His life reflected what he believed. He loved the Lord. Anyone who spoke with Rev. Baiden knew that. I was given the honor to write and to read the Tribute given by the Lawra Mission Circuit. I was nervous. I prayed a lot because I knew I couldn't do this on my own strength. The Very Rev. Lawrence Beka stood with me. I began to read. My voice cracked. Oh, I prayed more. God heard my prayer and gave me strength to continue. Afterwards, we walked around the casket to say our final "Farewell." This was done group by group.
Then, the Tributes from the family were read. One of the pastors' wives read the Tribute from Mrs. Baiden. Another hymn was sung. More people viewed their loved one for the last time. Then, the Pastors' Wives walked around the casket. Bertha (Mrs. Baiden) was supported by her friends which were like family to her. The grief she expressed was heart wrenching.
The casket was closed and the service continued. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Nathan I. Samwini gave the sermon. More songs were sung. More prayers were prayed. It was time to leave for Agona Abodom, near Winneba, for the final burial which took place Friday morning. Then, something happened that really touched my heart. The ministers came forward. They "shooed" the young men who were ready to carry the casket away. And, they picked up their colleague, the one whom they loved and, did for him the last thing they could here on earth. They carried Rev. Baiden's casket to the hearse and put him in. Now, all was ready to leave.
Rev. Baiden was young, only 61. But, he loved the Lord. He showed all of us that we don't need to compromise our beliefs. We can live in a way that would honor God in all that we do. Let us carry on where he left off....
Follower of Christ, Cross Cultural Worker, presently serving Christ in the Lawra area of the Upper West Region of Ghana.