Funerals & Spirituality

NOTE:  I’ve gotten some great responses about this mentorship and young adult topic.  I fully intend to post some thoughts from other folks, but for today, I wanted to share this “wrestling” with you.

What is it about funerals and death that give me the greatest sense or connection with my spirituality?

We held a funeral at my internship congregation today.  Late last week, a regular member of our congregation died suddenly at age 77.  While he wasn’t the healthiest person, and was older, he was what you would consider in “good general health.”  But that’s not where my thoughts go today.

It is at the funeral, among members of our congregation, the deceased’s loved ones, I experience what I could call a closeness with my spirituality, that side of me that simply put, is one of those moments “I feel closest to God.”  I have to admit, for me, Spirituality is not a high point of my faith.  As much as I proclaim I am a person of faith, I’m not much for Spirituality…moments where I feel close to God, in that way that can’t be explained, but only felt and experienced, are not common for me.

But not at funerals, not at the presence of death.  As I sat there, listening to words, looking at people’s reactions, and pictures and symbols of the deceased’s life, something came over me, a wave would be best explained – where I felt a definite need for God’s presence, and a subsequent closeness in that moment.  Now, this person who passed, I knew him, but we weren’t close.  There was no bitterness or shock overwhelming people today. In fact, it was more a celebration of his life.  But the closeness to God, the clarity and power of which I felt and experienced it was overwhelming.

I wonder, why is it that in the experience of death and suffering that is where I feel the most in touch with any sense of Spirituality?  Unlike many people I know, I don’t find it in community with people; not in centering prayer or meditation; I don’t find it very often even in worship or other aspects of Christian or faith-centered living.  Yet in the sharing of death and suffering, everything changes.  God’s promises and good news become a powerful, vital, and transforming force in my life.  And I am changed – today, for 1 hour, a sense of spirituality becomes real and comfortable for me.

I could go into the “why’s,” but for now I just sit in this thought and well, “wrestle” with it, as you will.  I invite you all to do that same….and wonder if it is the same for you.


1 Comment

Filed under Church Devotions (Advent/Lent, etc), Culture & Social Issues/Ethics, Uncategorized

One response to “Funerals & Spirituality

  1. Love it, Aaron. If done well, funerals really celebrate life and faith in a way Easter services can’t really do. Still wrestling with this, too…

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