Thursday, February 1, 2018

We never talked about it...

I've sat with many grieving family members. Their grief is so real, raw, and unique. In the midst of immense grief, very difficult decisions have to be made. Decisions need to be made about arrangements. Part of my role as a clergyperson is to help navigate and teach the family the significance of what we will do during in a Funeral service.

I begin by asking, "Did you talk about it?" The response, "No, we never talked about it..." "Do you know hymns that he/she loved to sing?" "No. Preacher you pick them." "How about scriptures?" ... you get the gist.

I remember a few years ago asking some "young at heart" folks if they ever have thought about "death and dying." It was just silence. Everyone I could sense wanted to move on to happier subjects.

I agree talking about death is awkward and weird. I would never recommend talking about it every day... that would be depressing. But acting like death is not imminent in our lives and that we are immortal is also strange.

So what should we talk about when we have this conversation... and just to note... this doesn't have to be a "death" conversation... these things are just good to know in general about the people we love...
1. What hymns or songs have been of value to you on your journey? ("all of them" is not an appropriate answer!)
2. What scriptures have journeyed with you, inspired you, lifted you?
3. Holy Communion... I have never had someone say to me lets have Holy Communion at a Funeral... but it is actually very appropriate and something worth talking about. We believe that when we partake of the sacrament of Holy Communion that our hearts are united with God and the communion of Saints (for which your loved one now belongs)... so it only seems right that we might dine and feast together with Christ and our loved ones.

I believe if some discussion is made around these three areas when that day comes... believe me... it will be a glorious celebration of life. Because you can be confident and celebrate how God worked and sustained one's life here on this earth and have full confidence that they are now in the full embrace of God.