Consoled by intelligence of their prosperity

  John Chyrsostom, in his sermon "Excessive Grief at the Death of Friends": "Now is it not unreasonable, that, if you should have given your daughter in marriage, and her husband should take her to a distant country and should there enjoy prosperity, you would not think the circumstance a calamity, but the intelligence of... Continue Reading →

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We get a completely new set of people

Thomas Long, writing in his book Accompany Them With Singing: The Christian Funeral, imagines a funeral for a wife and mother named Annette. The funeral he imagines is, like so many others, "sweet and nostalgic", featuring readings of Psalm 23 and Proverbs 31, and celebrating that she "was a good woman, a good Christian". He... Continue Reading →

daily by an open grave

Eugene Peterson: "Jan and I were visiting a Benedictine monastery, Christ in the Desert, in New Mexico. One of the brothers was leading us on a path from prayers in the chapel to the refectory where we would have lunch. The path led through the cemetery. We passed an open grave. Jan said, 'Oh, did... Continue Reading →

the art of a good death

Thomas Long, in his book Accompany Them With Singing: The Christian Funeral, takes on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' classic On Death and Dying. One objection: "the implication in Kubler-Ross's work that knowledge of impending death somehow drives people rapidly up the stairway of emotional and ethical development is a fiction of the therapeutic culture." "The fact is... Continue Reading →

confronting suffering

From Christian Wiman's 2007 essay, Gazing into the Abyss¬†about his return to God, partly through his diagnosis with terminal cancer: "I was not wrong all those years to believe that suffering is at the very center of our existence, and that there can be no untranquilized life that does not fully confront this fact. The... Continue Reading →

in departing they lead the way

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, AD 251: "Our brethren who have been freed from the world by the summons of the Lord should not be mourned, since we know that they are not lost but sent before; that in departing they lead the way; that as travelers, as voyagers are wont to be, they should be... Continue Reading →

Called to life by love

Walter Wangerin Jr., in his utterly beautiful book, Letters from the Land of Cancer, tells a story from the winter of 1982, when he had surgery to remove the lowest lobe of his right lung.¬†Anesthetized, he dropped into that deep drugged sleep that is "the end of consciousness, the end of memory." He writes (178):... Continue Reading →

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