Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, May 31, 2019

light wrapping

“maybe death
isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us--”
Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies

I have thought a lot about death lately
It is hard not to

When death is everywhere

Big deaths, little deaths

Rachel Held Evans, dead at 37
A voice for grace and God,

Riley Howell
Kendrick Castillo
young men who attacked school shooters
saving classmates,
but dying themselves

Jean Vanier
who in the name of God
helped improve life for people with disabilities

Donna, my dear friend
and for many years my secretary
She of the goofy smile and laugh


There are other deaths too
The death of empathy
The death of truth
The death of justice
The death of democracy

So many things

But it is of course the deaths of those we care about
Friends, parents
Siblings, heroes

That hit us hardest.

And we wonder
What happens when people die?
Is there a Heaven?  A Hell?
Do people find their way to whatever is next “in an instant”,
Is there a “big sleep”

while we wait for
The Kingdom

Michael Quoist has prayer he wrote after seeing a funeral. 

“Leaving the cemetery some of the family were sobbing.  All is finished. 
Others were sniffling:  “Come, come, my dear courage: It’s finished!”
Some friends murmured:  “Poor man, that’s how we all finish.”
And others sighed in relief:  Well it is finished.

And I was thinking that everything was just beginning.

Yes, he had finished the last rehearsal, but the play was just beginning.  The years of training were over, but the eternal work was about to start.  He had just been born to life, the real life.  Life that’s going to last, life eternal.

As if there were dead people. 
There are no dead people Lord. 
There are only the living, on earth and beyond.”

What I believe,
and of course I might be wrong

But what I believe is that when we die
We return to that from which we came

Some call it God
Some call it heaven
Jesus suggested that dying was like going home (John 14)

But I like to think come from love
And we return to Love

After all, God is love
We all know the love passage from II Corinthians

But because God love, that passage describes not only love
But God

Revisit the passage and replace the word love with the word God
God is patient
God is kind
God is not easily angered
God keeps no record of wrongs
God always protects
God trusts
God always has hopes for us
God always hangs in there with us
God’s love never fails

The whole point of the Gospel
is that we live in the context of this love

We are connected to this love
embraced by this love
empowered by this love
filled by this love

That is why we can live love
Can be love, here on earth

This is why we can walk through our days
Following the way of the one who in-fleshed love, Jesus
Being generous, kind, compassionate, creative
Accepting, forgiving, giving
And loving

As those in whom the Sacred dwells
We are people who display our divine DNA

And that is why we do not have to fear death. 
For when we die, we return to the One from whom we came,
we return to love
As I often say…
We move from communion with the Sacred
back into complete union with the Sacred

Death does not separate us from the love of God,
it unites us (or re-unites us) with that love
And we are home, once again, no longer the wanderers

“… death isn't darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us--”

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