11/01/2013

Palimpsest: All Saint's

Stone on Stone

Ephesians 2:16-22

Readings:
We must learn how to walk through the stages of dying. We have to grieve over lost friends, relatives, and loves. Death cannot be dealt with through quick answers, religious platitudes, or a stiff upper lip. Dying must be allowed to happen over time, in predictable and necessary stages, both in those who die graciously and in those who love them. Grief, believe it or not, is a liminal space where God can fill the tragic gap with something new and totally unexpected. Yet the process cannot be rushed...It is not only the loss of persons that leads to grief, but also the loss of ideals, visions, plans, places, relationships, and our youth itself. Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross helped us name the necessary stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance (They are the same as the stages of dying itself). Grief work might be one of the most redemptive, and yet still unappreciated, ministries in the church. Some call it bereavement ministry. Thank God, it is being discovered as perhaps the paramount time of both spacious grace and painful gift.—Richard Rohr, from Near Occasions of Grace

because I understand that my faith comes from my grandmothers. It was in moving back to the Plains that I found my old ones,my flesh and blood ancestors as well as the desert monks and mystics of the Christian church. Dakota is where it all comes together, and surely that is one definition of sacred. It came as an unwelcome surprise that my old ones led me back to church. It continues to surprise me that the church is for me both a new and an old frontier. And it astonishes me as much as it delights me that moving to the Dakota grasslands led me to a religious frontier where the new growth is fed by something very old, the 1,500-year tradition of Benedictine monasticism. – Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

The leaves are falling, falling as from far off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.
And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.
We are all falling. This hand falls.
And look at others; it is in them all.
And yet there is One who holds this falling 
endlessly gently in his hands. - Rainer Maria Rilke, “Autumn”

How they do live on, those giants of our childhood, and how well they  manage to take even death in their stride because although death can put an end to them right enough, it can never put an end to our relationship with them. Wherever or however else they may have come to life since, it is beyond a doubt that they live still in us. Memory is more than a looking back to a time that is no longer; it is a looking out into another kind of time altogether where everything that ever was continues not just to be, but to grow and change with the life that is in it still. The people we loved. The people who loved us. The people who, for good or ill, taught us things. – Frederick Buechner, Listening To Your Life

Questions:
· What did your grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles, mentors and neighbors teach you about your faith? Who are the others in your life who have taught you about faith?
· Who do you inspire? For whom might you be a saint of faith?




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