Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Friend Moved Away

My  good friend David moved away this week.   I was really surprised, shocked actually.  I just had lunch with him last Thursday and he didn't mention that he was leaving.  It was so like David to just quietly slip out of town.

I will sure miss meeting him for lunch or seeing him around town.   He got around, that guy.  I could always count on finding David at a luncheon meeting spot, usually arriving  ahead of me, most likely leaning up against a doorjamb over in the corner someplace with that wry smile on his face, maybe a little rumpled looking,  looking sort of lost in a  heavy plaid over shirt, a real comfortable looking guy.  David was always ready to talk politics, a dear subject for him, or share a story, a joke and most likely a PUN deftly inserted into the conversation.  I’ll miss all of that now that he’s left town.

Oh, the newspaper will probably run an obituary with his name over it. It will describe his successful career and interests and tell a little about wife Kelly and his family.  But it would not be possible in a brief write up to tell of the humanity, the sense of humor, the wisdom, the depth of thought and the originality of this dear guy.

What has helped me so much in situations like this is an experience I had some years ago. I was sometimes called upon to perform funeral services in several funeral homes around my small town in Massachusetts.

Sitting in the “pastor’s room”  at the funeral home on this early afternoon, I could hear the sad dirge playing in the chapel, even surrounded as I was by  heavy red curtains that lined the small closet like room furnished with a comfortable chair, a  kneeling alter and dim lighting.  I could feel the downward pull, the emotional drain pulling at me.  Someone had passed away.  The room was  dripping with sorrow.  

As I waited in this room for the time to enter into the chapel, I had been praying to feel God’s presence, for comfort for the family and friends, for guidance,  remembering Jesus’ counsel that if we follow his leading, accept his understanding of Life, we shall not see death.   As we all do, I sought to more fully understand his assertion and promise  that Life is eternal, that death is a lie, and the father of lies;  that evil and “the world” tries to close our eyes to health, prosperity, God’s goodness, which is ever present and available.

As I glanced up I happened to noticed that the heavy red velvet curtain covering the walls was partially open, some type of wire showing.  That’s when curiosity got the best of me.   I just had to see what was behind that red curtain. I pulled it back slowly and noticed that the back wall was completely covered with electronic devices, the sound system and wiring, a lighting panel, switches and dials, all hidden behind the curtain... like the wizard of OZ. 

Strengthened by this “uncovering”, this revelation of how we can so easily be pulled down mentally,  how truth of our life as spirit can be conveniently hidden behind a cloak of matter,  I became alert!!!   Reminded of how through the centuries the mortal, material scene has always tried  to drag us down, to discourage, to frighten, to depress, to lull us into a sense of loss, sorrow, despair and helplessness,  the loss of our friend's daily presence was enough, it needed no added weight of gravity.

Grateful for this uncovering of the subtle methods of the  material-based "sin, disease and death" thinking that we face every day,  I prayed more in earnest for the world to begin to see the light shining in the darkness.  Walking down the aisle to the podium to give the service, I could actually feel the mood of the attendees lifting.    

And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.       And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.   *1

Religious pioneer and dedicated follower of Jesus teachings, Mary Baker Eddy noted:
In the illusion of  death, mortals wake to the knowledge of two facts:
(1) that they are not dead;
(2) that they have but passed the portals of a new belief.
Truth works out the nothingness of error in just these ways.   Sickness, as well as sin, is an error that Christ, Truth, alone can destroy.    *2

For David, I want to share one last thought in his memory,    I read this last night in The Message translation of the Holy Bible.   This is sort of the inspiration we discussed during lunch  last week,  the excitement of the people who actually were with Jesus and knew him and his work, this is the excitement that we too can and should have as we follow his teaching and example:

Disciple John is speaking: From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!     *3

Here’s the hymn from our Hymnal that goes with it...

O come and find, the Spirit saith,
The Truth that maketh all men free.
The world is sad with dreams of death.
Lo, I am Life, come unto Me.

1.     Luke 7:11-152.      Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – Mary Baker Eddy   2513.      I John 1:1-24.      Christian Science Hymnal  188 

No comments: