The church bell tolled ninety-one times this afternoon as we brought her out to the cemetery. The wind swept like a brush through the grass and picked up bits of dust, carrying it far off over the cedars and live oaks. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” I said and sprinkled the … More The Bell tolled 91 Times
We all have our stories of ashes, don’t we? Mine, I think of a home that once existed – now just a memory. Yours might be the ash and ruin you found your life in after poor choices made. They could be the ashes of dreams you had for a relationship or the ashes of the prayers you prayed that a cure would be found or the ashes of a loved one whose body finally gave up its spirit at the end of a long life. Ashes are the sign of something that once was – but no more. We sweep them up and toss them away, we bury them, scatter them, or store them away and try to forget about them.
Yet today, we are marked with them. We choose to be marked with this sign of death and endings. Why in the world would we do such a thing?
… More Ashes
Today I led the funeral for a woman whom I hardly knew. I had just met her in the last weeks of her life and was glad to bring her prayers and communion as her health steadily declined. When I gathered with the family to pray before the service, I noted my heart wasn’t breaking … More Losses
Henry Scott Holland wrote, “Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt. Nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we … More All Saints
They sang the closing hymn and gathered in the fellowship hall. One last potluck together. One last time they sang grace gathered around those embroidered table-cloths made by their mothers and grandmothers. One last time they were together under the roof built by their fathers and grandfathers. After one-hundred twenty-five years of ministry, the doors … More Benediction
The other night I remembered the jewelry box played music – the tinny notes it played had been part of its’ “magic” to me when I would admire it as a young girl. The box has been sitting in my bathroom since I brought it home from Minnesota a few months ago – Jesse likes … More The Jewelry Box
No one knows what heaven will be like, but I know what I hope will happen first thing when I get there. I will sit down at my mom’s kitchen table and eat waffles that she is making for me on grandma’s waffle iron. When she’s used up all the batter and all the golden … More Waffles and Coffee
When my Grandma died, I remember the whole family gathered in the basement of our church while we waited for the pastor to come in and pray with us before we would be seated in the sanctuary. I was fourteen and in addition to me and my immediate family, there were tons of my cousins … More Laughing at Funerals
You have me still You have me You have me You have my heart completely. – Gungor Jesse was sick last night. It was the awful throwing-up-every-half-hour kind of sickness. He cried because his stomach hurt so badly and he hated the vomiting. Sweet child. I kept thinking back to when he … More I Didn’t Know
The church bell tolled ninety-one times this afternoon as we brought her out to the cemetery. The wind swept like a brush through the grass and picked up bits of dust, carrying it far off over the cedars and live oaks. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” I said and sprinkled the … More The Bell Tolled 91 Times