A few days ago I was at a cemetery. This time I was not there to commit someone to the ground but to record a message about resurrection. As I went up a hill I was reminded of that faithful day when I accompanied you on your trip to join your ancestors in the ground.
It still seems like a dream from start to finish . . .
From phone call to the final amen . . .
From celebration to desolation . . .
Now it’s been seven years and I still cannot believe it! You would be a teenager now but instead of celebrating we are facing another remembrance of your leaving. Another remembrance of how much time we have lived without you in this life, another remembrance of how much time we have lived in the hope of our meeting at the great feast.
Recently I’ve had many opportunities to tell your story. In my new congregation folks are taken by the ink which marks our shared journey. It all seems in the past until I begin telling the story, and all of a sudden the heart begins to race, tears come to my eyes, and I can still see your eyes opening one last time. I am surprised at the half-life of grief and that in the midst of it we find joy inexplicable.
Once again this year I thought that it might be time to stop writing. How long would I keep these epistles coming? But once again I’ve been called back, my spirit stirred to remember and to proclaim.
Yesterday I preached on Jacob’s Ladder. I told my new congregation Grace Community of the importance of making altars to the Lord as a way to mark our journey so that we never forget. As I sit here remembering the day you joined the communion of saints I realize that this space is one of those markers. A marker of faithfulness, a marker of remembrance, a marker of promise.
A few days ago I was at a cemetery and as I walked up the hill I was reminded. Reminded that one day I will join you and all the others that I have companioned on their journey to the ground, on their journey to God. Reminded of the beauty of our faith and its insistence that death has been defeated and that we’ll gather again!
So although still sad I am so grateful. I am grateful for you, your brothers, your parents, and for our shared life. I am grateful for my calling for I’m the one that gets the great honor to be a troubadour of resurrection. I am grateful to be marked by our shared life, grateful for the way your story still inspires me to be present to God’s presence.
Another year, soon another July will end, we got through another one, we continue counting them and re-membering . . . I’ll see you at the great feast!
Peace & Love, Juan+