Rector’s Reflections

This has been a hard month or two. Death has been very present in the life of our congregation. I still catch myself short when I see pictures of Judy Sprague. Watching Ian slowly and painfully make his way from this life to the life everlasting was extremely difficult and saddening. Nearly losing Edward while visiting his family for his father’s memorial was nerve-wracking. Now I have administered last rites to Ray Mena and am bracing myself for his loss.

Death is a profound thing. It is a comforting thing. It is a terrifying thing. It is a brutally hurtful thing. All in one. While we each deal with death in our own ways, it is no less crushing of a weight, especially when we lose those whom we love dearly. It has been a powerful, weighty, saddening, and joyful experience to walk with this congregation in the loss of several of our core members.

This is where the comfort of Easter is most profound: Death does not end life; it changes it. Although we lose those whom we love and see no more to Death, Death is the transformation from this life into the next; it places us in the arms of God and goes back into the fullness of God and God’s Creation. However we understand how that works, the image of our beloved ones–and eventually ourselves–melding into God and into Everything, carried by God, is one that gives me profound joy and hope. Not happiness, but Joy: happiness is an emotion; Joy is a frame of being.

That’s why being present alongside fellow people in that transition is one of the hardest and most wonderful aspects of my calling as a priest. It requires me to face Death as a fellow traveler. It offers me the gift of being a source of peace and comfort to those saying goodbye. It causes me to take a chapter out of Mary’s book: I ponder these things in my heart, and give thanks for everyone I have the honor of being alongside as a priest. May we surround one another as we walk through our losses.

Rev. Jeff