Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rent-a-Crowd & Rent-a-Pallbearer

Yesterday a Roman Catholic priest and friend of the store visited us. He mentioned in passing his Rent-a-Crowd and Rent-a-Pallbearer, for funerals. And we said, “What! Okay, we need to hear this story. You have special mourners and pallbearers for funerals?!”

First, you need to know that this priest is the only priest at a very large local Catholic church. He also answered my query yesterday about how many kids will be receiving their First Communion this Sunday, with “about 64.” It is a big church with a large number of members, big enough to have 64 pre-teen kids all about the same age who, after completing the classes for training in the Church will take Communion, for the first time.

The good Father told us yesterday that when a 99-year old woman dies she deserves a good funeral just as much as anyone else. A not uncommon problem for the very old is that all of their friends and family have died before them and there are none, or very few, who would attend their funeral. Likewise, for the very old, there are often too few friends or family members who have the health to be able to lift the casket with the dead person’s remains inside. Pallbearers are the ones who escort and carry the casket.

Father has a group of healthy individuals who will attend a funeral as the pallbearers when needed. He can contact his mourners and/or pallbearers and they will attend the funeral of someone they don’t know but who needs a good, decent, and dignified funeral. He said that he has over one hundred mourners who will attend a funeral when needed.

We were impressed with the thoughtfulness, as well as practicality of having pallbearers and mourners on hand and available for whomever needs them. Yes, each person, no matter who, deserves the dignity of a decent funeral. It is very practical, and very thoughtful and caring to have members of the congregation who will attend a funeral, not for their own grieving, but out of respect for the deceased person’s life.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why don't we follow the Acts of the Apostles?

Today’s New Testament Lesson:
Acts 4:32-35

4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.

4:33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

4:34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.

4:35 They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

For all of the fuss that the Biblical literalists give to keeping Scripture accurately no one seems to expect, let alone demand, that we follow this description of the very early Christian community.

Yea, verily, no acts of same gender sexuality, nor marriage of same gendered couples, and women must obey the head of the household, the man, or so sayeth many fundamentalist Christians, but none of them say that we should all pool our ownership of everything, sell everything and give it to the community, and distribute it to each as any has need.

I do not remember every hearing an Episcopal sermon on this topic either.

Could it be that when scriptural faithfulness meets political socialism that politics always wins?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What do we do with our Lenten practices during Easter, and Pentecost?

Happy Easter! Christ is Risen! Our Lenten Practices are over, or are they?

Now (that we are singing alleluias again) is an interesting time to evaluate our Lenten practices.

Part of my practices included reading Lent With Bishop Morneau during breakfast. Reading a book during lunch (I made it through two books during lunches in Lent.), keeping the radio turned off while driving and working in the kitchen and basement projects, deep cleaning rooms in the house, and rehearsing to refer to a transgendered friend by his male pronoun.

A few of the practices were easy. Others were more difficult. I managed to only deep clean three rooms in the house. I am relieved to find that I refer to my friend in the male gender unconsciously now.

How do we treat our Lenten practices now that Lent is over? Do we immediately grab for the chocolate that we had given up, perhaps even more so than before Lent specifically because we have shunned it for these several weeks?

I don’t think that I will continue with the deep cleaning of the house. I find that turning off the radio when there isn’t really something that I’m interested in is quite easy this week thanks to the practice of silence during Lent. I miss not having a book to read at lunch. My friend remains male in my subconscious.

What about you and your Lenten practices? Which ones remain with you and which ones were easily discarded?