I hope that your new year has gotten off to a great start! For me, the new year is always a time of reflection and also looking forward. One of the most meaningful times of reflection that I’ve ever had was during seminary when I took a class called “Ministry with the Sick, Dead, and Dying.” I know it sounds morbid, but it was a truly life changing experience for me. For our final assignment, we had to plan our own funeral. Again, I know that it probably sounds morbid, but the theological reflection and spiritual exercise of planning my funeral led me to some really deep and meaningful questions:
What is the purpose of a funeral? Who is a funeral really for?
What do I want my funeral to communicate to my family and friends about what I believe?
What do I really believe about resurrection?
What are the theological implications of what happens to my body after I die?
What songs and scripture have been comforting to me that might be a comfort to my family?
How can my funeral convey both sorrow for the separation of death, and joy in the hope of resurrection?
How can I live my life now in a way that reflects what I want my funeral to communicate to my loved ones?
Asking myself these questions, and genuinely struggling with the answers, was one of the most spiritually rigorous and rewarding exercises that I undertook during my there three years in seminary. I came to a more full and complete understanding of what I believe to be the truth about resurrection (which is always somewhat of a mystery). I challenged myself to consider if the life I am living now reflects the theology that I want my funeral to convey. I hope that each one of us continues to wrestle with these questions, and know knows that our answers may change over time.
I invite you all to join us as we wrestle with these questions together for a five week series, called “You Better Be Ready” during the season of Lent. We will cover the deep theological questions, as well as some practical advice for end of life planning. If you’re thinking that you’re too young to be worried about this, I encourage you to think about it! I found the whole process to be very meaningful even as a healthy 27 year old! We will also have some break-out sessions that will address how adult children of elderly parents can engage with some of these issues with their parents. I am so looking forward to engaging in this hard spiritual work again, and to do it in this wonderful community. I hope you’ll join us.
The dates of the sessions are Feb. 18, 25, March 4, 11, 18 after coffee hour. Nursery care will be provided for folks with children to enable all to participate. Each session will last about 45 minutes. We look forward to this formative time together.