A congregation of the United Church of Canada
January 11, 2023
What dawned on me was how much I had missed that beautiful sense of beloved community that coalesces as so many church members lovingly do their parts to create the sacred space for a mourning family to feel embraced and supported. I could feel the warmth emanating from all our church folk as they were doing their thing, and the one word that I think encapsulates what I sensed in everyone was the word, ‘finally’!
People have been waiting so long to be able to express their loving-kindness in this way. We don’t look forward to funerals, of course, but the way the whole church pulls together at such times is among the most beautiful expressions of God’s love that churches do. It’s been nearly three years since everyone felt like it was ok to gather and work together like that. I didn’t realize how much I had missed that togetherness, that shared-purpose, that koinonia, until I felt it all around me that day. Oh, how I noticed!
I also noticed it when we decorated (and undecorated) the church for Christmas, but that was somewhat less tender as compared to a funeral gathering, but it was there. I hesitate to say that things are back to normal. There are still far too many unknowns and we cannot take undue risks with people’s health. But it sure felt pretty wonderfully ‘normal’ this last week, in the most beautiful, loving way. Echoes of Genesis 1 were resounding: God saw everything that (transpired), and indeed, it was very good.