Marsha asked me to give the prayer at this event back in November and we had time to talk about what she wanted said and not said – She very much liked the words from Ecclesiastes –
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

This is a time to pray, and above all, Marsha wanted words of comfort and peace spoken for her children and family.  I don’t know if that is mine to offer but…

Let us calm our hearts and minds and ponder the mysteries of life and death.

A time to pray – we are in the right place for that, but prayer does not come naturally to many.  In a church we know we are supposed to do it but often don’t know how. The words and  the rituals around prayer are unfamiliar and we find ourselves at a loss to know even to whom we should be praying. 

And so you reach out your hand to find the warmth of another.  And that is a prayer for comfort in your loss.  Amen

And someone will hand you a cup of tea and that is their heartfelt prayer for your wellbeing.  Amen.

And at home you may stand in the shower and cry because that is a safe and private place to proclaim your grief.  Amen.

And you hit the gym or run yourself into exhaustion working out your rage at the unfairness of the death of a beloved.  And that is a prayer asking  – Why?  Amen.

And you light a candle looking for serenity and calm in a flickering flame.  And that is a prayer seeking to find meaning in a heart-breaking event. Amen.

And some day you will hear her voice in your head – just what she would have said, and how she would have said it, you know – that tone of voice –  and you will smile.  A prayer of gratitude.  Amen. 

And some day, you will go outside and look at the night sky and see the stars and know that every atom in every cell of our bodies came from that wild and beautiful place, unimaginably far away in time and space.  And you will know that someday – long into the future – every atom in every cell of our bodies will go back to that place of infinite beauty. And you will stand in awe.  Amen.

But we are not merely the stuff of stars.  We are bound to one another in ways that cannot be broken.  We are bound by love – timeless and eternal. Love that has been woven from our past into our present by those who have come before us and upon whom our very existence depends. Love that holds us together and sustains us now. Love that will journey with us into the future even as our lives become entwined with others because we will always carry with us those who have loved you,  and who we have loved in return. 

Love that from the past to the future, passes from generation to generation, world without end.  Amen. 

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