Melissa's visitation and funeral were this weekend, and we were blessed to be able to go to both. The funeral was in the church I grew up in, where I met both Aaron and Melissa. Many of my childhood friends were there. While, of course, we were in shock and grief over the reason for our brief reunion, thinking of once again seeing these people who were so instrumental in shaping the course of my life - even if I haven't ended up anywhere near where most of them would have liked for me to - made me smile and think of a line from a Lyle Lovett song:
I went to a funeral,
and Lord, it made me happy
seein' all those people
that I ain't seen since
the last time somebody died
Morbid, sure. But there's a comforting truth to it. Death provides you with some space to take stock of your life. It also provides you with a community. A community that helped shape you, then turned you loose. It was great to see how my friends had grown up. To see new spouces, new children.
Life goes on.
The funeral was a celebration of a life lived boldly and lovingly. And, while I don't always believe in a literal bodily resurrection, I can say that in church this weekend we could all feel the enduring presence of Melissa, a presence that gives powerful testimony to the resurrection. And that's what Melissa wanted: to be in death as she was in life a witness to her faith. Even from the grave she ministered to me.
We got back home last night, and went to church this morning. For our worship today, several "leaders" in the congregation were asked to bring water from home and to pour it, ceremonially, into the baptismal fount. Wonder of wonders, I was asked to participate in that. Along with pouring our water, we were each also asked to compose a single sentense to read to the congregation, starting with, "My faith tells me..." With life and death, faith and doubt, swirling around in my psyche, this is the sentence I chose to share with the church:
My faith tells me that we are found in and surrounded by the love of God; and that we are called to love as passionately and extravagantly as that divine love that is our very life.
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