Sunday, January 31, 2016

Death vs. Knowing and Believing

As my Facebook friends will have gathered, we've had some heavy hearts this weekend.  The father of one of Wm's soccer teammates passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on January 18.  Here is an excerpt from the homily during the funeral service I shared there, which I have chosen to meditate on for the next few weeks:

"Still we gather, sit, speak, sing, and pray; to weep with Jesus at [their] passing....The mystery is not the dying or the why, but that God stays present with [the dead] and all of you. ... Because of this mystery of love, our lives do not ever end. ... Remember that you are loved. We are here until we die and somehow be revealed." (Adapted from funeral sermon today at St Paul's, K St)

I'm repeating in the blog for special keeping since FB status pass by quickly, but these posts stick around for a while longer.  This is my second friend to have lost a husband all too young, and I found this reflection reassuring with such questions of "why?" floating around.

As Wm knew this dad, needless to say we discussed the death.  Wm also had a very church-filled weekend because his choir joined other area choirs to sing at the National Cathedral's Evensong today.  One of their songs was about the Song of Simeon, and the choral director explained the background.  On the car ride home, we shared the following conversation.

First, we discussed prophets and prophecies, since he didn't really understand the definitions of these words.  Which morphed into one of the major differences between Christians (believe Jesus is the Messiah, hence the Song of Simeon) and Jews (still waiting for the Messiah).

Wm: But, that means that maybe Jesus isn't the Messiah.  We don't really *know.*
Me: You're right, we don't.  We can only believe.
Wm: So, the Jewish people could be right and we could be wrong.
Me: Yes, correct.
Wm: But, maybe our belief is also right.
Me: Yes.  That's the tricky thing about believing vs. knowing.  And why we should always respect other religions.  Even ones that aren't related at all to the Bible.
Wm: But, we do know that when we die, like Sebastian's dad, our bodies stays here.  Your body is dead in the ground.
Me (a little nervous): Yes.
Wm: And, I think enough people around the whole world believe that your spirit goes up to God, so I think we could say we *know* that your spirit is with God.
Me: Well, some people might argue with you on that, but I think that's a logical assumption.
Wm: So, if your spirit is with God, that means your spirit can be anywhere.  Which means that Mimi's spirit could be sitting right here next to me in Ian's car seat.
Me: Mimi?
Wm: Yes, Mimi.  Right here in this car, sitting right here next to me in Ian's car seat.  It *is* possible.  I'll never *know*, but I can believe it.

I really love parenting at moments like this.  A lot of my time and effort is spent trying to keep the boys in line, teach them proper manners, trying to keep dinner time from devolving into endless bathroom jokes.  I rarely get to see them make the fun connections: they concentrate so hard at school, by the time they get home, their brains just need rest and their bodies need exercise and movement.  When conversations like this start, I never quite know where they might end - but it is always a fun path to take.

No comments: