Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Homily for a Memorial Service

A few weeks ago I had lunch with an old friend who said, “I don't know what I believe anymore, I don’t think I have much faith.” I chewed my pasta for awhile and I said, “I've read a lot about faith, talked too much about it, and I guess I can make my way though scripture and the creeds, and the church because I have this deeper sense that in and under and beyond all that I reckon and see there is this heartfelt hunch that the whole world, the whole deep cosmos, is woven with love. 

And I don't know fully where that comes from. I get a lot from my community; the scripture, tradition, people and places, hymns and hopes that , after all these years, sing in me; but there's more. For even in the times of deep tragedy when I cry against the unfairness; with so many lives in this world cut short by tsunamis or tyrants, or others peoples shortcuts and all the mysteries of car crashes or a fast-growing  cancer. Even with all that I still stand in awe with this recurrent hunch that the cosmos comes out of an unspeakably tender compassion. 

So maybe you're not ready for faith at this point, don't want a wrapped-up package that connects to ethics and aesthetics and Eros and all the other aspects of life that can come up for appraisal and renewal; maybe you’re not ready to make some paragraph of programmed belief that faith might form; but know that love still opens the heart and leaves room for hope. And that might  be enough for a good long while.

C.... talked to me the other day about when she and G.... and their kids were younger and didn't have a lot of money, didn't have a big house or take faraway vacations, but, along with the tough times,  they had great wonderful occasions, great joy! I think her exact words were, “We had so damn much fun!” And those moments, that memory of the weaving, can take anyone a good long way.  

In a sense this building is built from those times and insights, out of that wonder. The people shining in the windows, Whether saviour, saints or unnamed strangers, shared the road like a family, sitting near the fire and joining in whenever someone picks up a guitar and sings an old song about “where we came from, where we're going, and why all the traveling.” And I am convinced that with enough held moments like that, a systematic faith can be a help but may not matter much: if you have the memory of the small and great moments that fire hope and keep you on the way, then you're halfway  home, for you know that love like that does not end.

The family is glad that you are here. May you always be blessed by love. Amen.

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