30 January 2010

Funeral Issue

A member of the congregation I serve, left the state this past summer for health reasons. Her doctors told her the climate in Indiana did not suite her medical condition. She left for better weather but found out soon after arriving in her new home that she could not out run her medical conditions. I received a phone call a few days ago from her daughter informing me that she has been placed into hospice care. I further inquired about funeral preparations and the pastoral care during this time. Her daughter told me that she is being visited by the local pastor who is providing the needed pastoral care and comfort at this time. As far as the funeral preparations, there are none. The rough plans as of right now are to have this woman cremated and “placed” with her husband, in yet another state. I was told that because this woman has just moved to New Mexico she has not had anytime to develop any relationships with her neighbors, and the drive back to Hamlet, Indiana would be understandably difficult for a funeral. I was then told there will be a simple “ceremony” at the placing of the urn.
This bothers me on several levels. The first is, I feel helpless as this woman’s Pastor. I feel helpless that I can not be there to care for her during this time. There is the cremation issu,e but that is a different post which has already been discussed. Furthermore there will be no funeral service to proclaim what this woman now has inherited. People will not be given a chance to hear the proclamation of Christ, His salvation, His forgiveness, and what He did for this woman in and through her life. I am not sure how the members and friends of this woman’s home congregation will feel about this missed chance of a funeral service. I then begin to think of ways to remedy this by providing a chance to have our “own” funeral for this woman. Alas I struggle with this idea. I do not want this service to be seen as a “mass for the dead” however, this woman is a member of this congregation. Why can’t we have a funeral mourning the death, and celebrating the life she now has received in Christ’s arms? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and Blessings,
Rev. Wright

25 January 2010

Pastoral Meanderings: Scripture Does Not Speak of Christ

Pastoral Meanderings: Scripture Does Not Speak of Christ, They Speak Christ

Maybe the Hippies are Right

(As no one has posted in a while...)

This morning, while reading the new my wife exclaimed, "I am sick of hearing how everything we do hurts the planet! I am sick of hearing how everything we do increases global warming!" I didn't bother asking what new terror we unleash upon creation by our very existence - the specific details would just depress me.

Of course, the parallel to this in the 90s was how anything we ate would give us cancer. Too much milk - cancer. Too much fruit - cancer. Too much bread - cancer. And of course, it seems as though whatever diet we turn to now, even if people don't shout about it giving cancer, it still probably does this or that.

And of course, this can all play into the hippie/radical environmentalist view that humans are but a stain and a blight upon this world - that everything we do corrupts and destroys the earth. One could be even more radical and suggest that the earth itself is trying to kill us, by food, by disaster - to wipe us out and to leech back from our decaying bodies the nutrients we wrested from her.

You know. . . maybe the hippie are right.

Now, this isn't to say all the global warming stuff and the like is accurate (that is the arrogance of scientists who never look at historical patterns of weather in the past as recorded for us by people who lived through it) - but is it not true that as fallen, sinful folks we are wanton and wasteful and destructive according to our nature? Is it not true that since the Fall the earth does not yield her bounty gladly as she did in the garden, but that we must fight for our food? Is it not true that since the fall disaster and mischance happen more and more?

They are right to a certain extent - mankind and the earth are at war - and we do damage to each other all the time.

But our hope is not in fleeing to mother earth and defending her (no, this isn't an appeal to join Greenpeace) in some Chamberlinesque appease the earth move. No, this is why we look to Christ and await His second coming, when not only will be be resurrected into New Bodies free from sin, but even the earth will be made anew.

Whew -- at least the hippies aren't right about everything. . .

06 January 2010

A Ponderance

(Note: Let this be a no-flame war post. Write your thoughts, don't attack another's. . . don't worry about responses and back and forth - please, just simply give your thoughts on this - cause I'd be interested to hear what people think. . . not how well they defend. If someone asks for specific clarification, by all means do so - but say your thoughts and let others ruminate upon them.)

I wonder - which is more important (no, this isn't meant to establish a false dichotomy, but rather establish priorities):

1. To reestablish the good and beneficial liturigical rites and customs of the past that have been lost due to carelessness.

2. To teach and explain the benefits of the liturigical rights and customs which we have received.

I find that a lot of the people who are liturigical like to talk about the first - I find I delight more in the second - in seeing the depth and beauty in what we have, rather than desiring a return to what was lost. It's not that I don't desire the first -- it just seems to take less precedence for me. Of course, one might easy say that in reestablishing older customs you are in fact teaching.

Like I said, neither of these are bad - but just. . . which one take priority? So, what think any of you, which is more important? 1 or 2? And why?