Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What is important?

There have been all sorts of developments in Anglicanland of late. Yet today, all of them seem to pale in importance.

We were scheduled to do two baptisms on Easter Day. Now it will only be one. The other child died suddenly yesterday afternoon.

The mother is blaming herself, wondering what could she have done differently. This is natural, I suspect, but ultimately it was not her fault.

The funeral is scheduled for Friday. As a community, we will have to acknowledge a tragedy that is, for most of us, incomprehensible. Yet at the same time, we must proclaim the resurrection hope.

In the midst of this, international machinations to split the Anglican Communion seem like a tawdry sideshow.

Pray for little Xavier and his parents.

And if anyone more experienced in this particular sort of funeral has any suggestions, please feel free to comment.


Anonymous said...

One of the communities we belong to is that of families of children with disabilities, with a much higher proportion of infant and childhood death.

I've watched friends bury their children, and walked with them. No easy road. Sometimes I catch myself wondering our Sarah Joy is next.

I'm not even sure I can remember what I said at such times.

Amie said...

It is a situation that I dread. I will pray for all involved.

I have never gone through this experience but just recently made the decision to have our 4 year old male cat put down. I spent far too much time in guilt land to the point where I was barely able to function as a mother to my grieving children. They were having to comfort me. What I found best is for people just to let me talk it out and talk it out and talk it out. It also helped to have it confirmed by the professionals (the vet and vet tech) that we had made the best possible decision. That even before the situation became so acute, there was little we could have done.

I think though, that the best one can do in these situations is just be there in a loving and accepting manner as they work it through. Be a listner as they agonize - there is little one can say that will lessen the sorrow and guilt. Reassure them occassionally that they did the best they could do with what they were given and that the child was blessed to know their love.

That's what I think I would do although I know that I am no where near an expert or even competent in these situations.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Country Parson said...

No one ever gets over the death of her or his child, and no words are less comforting that saying that God must have wanted him more, or something like that. I suppose that this saddest of funerals will be, on the one hand, a time and place to give voice to the deepest of grief and, on the other, to boldly proclaim the Resurrection gift that unites the living with the dead in one holy communion of saints. May God grant comfort, courage and peace to his parents.

Malcolm+ said...

It isn't my practice to write out my sermons, so I can't tell you exactly what I said. But here, more or less, is the narrative.

I wish I could tell you something that would make sense of this. But I can't. I don't know the answer.

But I do know that Michelle and Aaron will need our support.

They need us to listen to them when they want to talk about Xavier - about how beautiful his smile was, or about the time he cried all night, or about the time when he made a really bad smell.

They need us to sit with them and hold their hand when they just want to weep.

They need us be with them when the last thing in the world they want to talk about is the pain they feel.

They will need us over the coming days and weeks and months and years - to be their friends, to be their family and to be their community.

That is what I know.

And I know one other thing.

I know, I am certain, I am persuaded that neither life nor death, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other thing in all creation can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That's what I know.

It seemed to work. People told me it worked.

I hope it worked, because it was all I had.

Thanks to the people who left comments, and thanks to the people who just held Xavier and his family - and me - up in prayer.


Doorman-Priest said...

I have no wisdom to offer. At a time like this what counts is humanity.

Prayers ascending.