Earlier this week, I had another post planned for today. Then on Friday, I got a different idea. Then, I went to Easter Mass today, and it became clear that, at least for now, writing about anything other than death and resurrection on Easter isn’t an option. My faith certainly isn’t anything to brag about, but I like to believe that God (or Grandma S, or 3) occasionally take the time to send me messages, and this morning was full of them.
As I walked into the generally uncrowded service at the university chapel, the priest stopped me and asked if I’d be willing to do a reading. (I imagine it’s because I was wearing a dress instead of the jeans that most congregants choose). Sure, Father, happy to! More Jesus points for me :) The reading to which I was assigned was from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, a short passage that speaks about life with Christ after death, exhorting the reader to focus on heavenly, rather than earthly, things.
I suppose I should have seen it coming, but it still managed to catch me a bit off-guard that the entire focus of the Mass was death. The theme of the homily was that there can be no resurrection without death, no joy without sorrow. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death and all that. The priest told the story of a young man who lost his sister to a car accident and broke down sobbing with a deacon. The quote from the homily was “It is safe to grieve in the arms of a man of Christ.” Come on, now. Talking about death and then telling me it’s safe to grieve? I just wanted to go to Mass, dude, not a personalize counseling session!
I guess I haven’t yet talked to anyone else who has lost a loved one about going to church services. Do mentions of death just automatically take on more significance? Are Easter celebrations forevermore tainted with your own experience of loss? Honestly, I don’t even remember what the homily was about last Easter. I was too busy playing with B in the pews.
I have believed in heaven and resurrection my whole life. It’s not that 3′s death has dented that belief; it’s just that I have a new appreciation for what it means if I’m wrong. Now, when the readings or the priest talk about death and resurrection, they’re talking about 3. Resurrection is no longer an abstract concept for me – it’s a legitimate hope if I ever want to see my brother again.