So today was another funeral at St. A’s. I’ve lost count of the number that we’ve had since this year began. But it has easily been too many. The gentleman whose life we celebrated today was not known to me, but he was an ordained elder in our congregation. He was remembered fondly by many who are elders today.
As the service rolled on, I found myself thinking about the scriptures that were read. I have heard them too many times recently. But because of that, they were strangely comforting to me. There was something in the rhythm of the words, the familiar cadence of these promises of God, that was deeper than the words themselves. Deeper than the things they were describing. It’s hard to explain what I felt as I listened to them yet again.
If there is a sound to the fabric of life, I think it is heard in powerful words of Scripture that are often repeated. The words of the 23rd Psalm – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want – or the firm voice of Jesus saying “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” or the beautiful writing of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, reminding them that he is convinced that neither depth nor height nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
As I listened, what could have been a very exhausting and sad time (really, it has been too much lately, and I echo the sentiment of one friend who said “I just don’t want to sit in another funeral.”), was transformed and transcended. I found myself deeply moved by by the sense that these words and stories travel with us throughout our lives. They may be often read at a funeral, but they shape and form followers of Jesus in our good moments as well as the bad ones, in our happy moments as often as our sad moments, in our times of celebration and our times of grief.
I am so glad we do not go this road alone.