I am at the airport again. It is a common hangout lately. This time I am on my way to a funeral though. I have been avoiding traveling in the US since my diagnosis so it will be a quick trip, in and out, filled with as many visits as I can fit in. When I called my friend the other night, I found her to be upbeat even though I could hear the weariness in her voice. We talked about the funeral plans for her sister and then she said it would be fun. I smiled. How delightful to think of the final send-off as something fun! Most of us tend to dread attending these events.
Funerals though should be a celebration of life–of the one who has passed and of the ones who are present. We should remember and honour the deceased and uphold their loved ones with our presence. We tell stories and smile. We shed a few tears that the person will no longer be physically in our lives but take solace that a new relationship still exists. We gather to acknowledge that this person was of value and made a difference by gracing the earth with his or her presence. We come because we may love the survivors of the loss and want them to know we share the sorrow they face. We want them to know that we are with them at this challenging time. We can also count our blessings that we continue our journey here.
Our world sometimes seems as if madness rules. Yet another senseless act of violence headlines the morning news. Locally, a church was broken into and set afire. A funeral can remind us that Love wins. We gather in the name of Love–love for the deceased and/or for the ones who remain. Despite the sadness, the most present emotions in the room are often Love and gratitude. This is one of the reasons why I attend funerals.
When did you last attend a funeral? Why?
What funeral has impacted you the most?
Creator God, you love us and when the time comes, you invite us to come Home. I pray for all those who minister to the dying, for those who accompany them, and for those who may be struggling to take their last breath right now. Merciful God grant strength and peace to each of these groups. I pray for relationships that are not yet healed, that peace could reign. May we all come to know that Love wins…all the time. Amen.