by Fr Brian Kauk, Incumbent Priest and Pastor
That title sounds really depressing, and if you read on, it gets worse. Last year Reverend Rosemary Parker said it was the “Lentiest Lent that ever was”. I don’t think she was counting on a round two.
But at the risk of being a downer, I want to address something that is very real for many of us. The death of a loved one or a fellow parishioner at this time is one of hardest things we’re dealing with. My work has changed drastically, and the work of those grieving has as well.
We are unable to do what we normally do. It has been the norm for Christians for millennia to gather together when one of us dies, praise God and offer thanks for the life and witness of our brother or sister in Christ. We can’t do that right now. And, if you will permit me the slip in polite language and discourse, that sucks.
Families have the first need when someone dies. Actually, there’s a really good introduction in the Book of Alternative Services on page 565. It outlines the history and theology of what funerals do and why the church is involved. Normally.
These days, I’m gathering with just family, no more than 10 of us. Our little Minyan has to carry the whole weight of grief, mourning and celebration of life, and then it’s over before you know it.
But here’s my plan. When this is all over (and it could be a while) we will gather as God’s people in the church. We will remember those who have died one by one. A few words, a poem or a piece of scripture or a song, one for each person. Then we will share Holy Communion with them and with our Lord. And then, the longest brightest best tea reception we’ve ever had. I promise you, one way or another, we will be a Christian Community for one another.
On Ash Wednesday, we remember we are but dust, and to dust we shall return. But at Easter, we will join with saints and angels (and those we love but see no longer) in the joyful throng and chorus, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” And, by faith, so are we. The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Oops. Not supposed to use ‘Alleluia!’ in Lent either. Oh, well, pandemic rules. Stay faithful and stay safe, everyone.