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Monday, March 29, 2010

life, death, and life beyond death

fifth page for March 29, 2010

Our guest speaker at Trinity yesterday, Joan Cooke, spoke from the heart about her “journey of joy”- which began with the death of her husband, Ron. Joan decided that funds given in memory of Ron would be given to an organization called “Roofs for the Roofless”, which was, and is, engaged in development and outreach work in a number of rural villages outside of Chennai, India.

Later this week, the audio recording of Joan’s presentation will be available on the Trinity website. I recommend it as a story to ponder as we approach Easter. What I heard in Joan’s words was the story of a woman who moved through the grief and sadness of loss, into a continuing journey of transformation, that has given her a life she might never have imagined.

I spoke this week with a close friend who has just had a loss, and at this point, cannot quite imagine how her life will be in the days, and weeks, and years following the funeral.

The Jesus story is about life, and death, and new life. We can hear the story as being about one figure in history. We can also look at the pattern, or paradigm for existence towards which that story points. For all of us, there is life, and life interrupted by loss, and the possibility of life beyond that loss. There is also the hope that the Spirit will be at work, to not just sustain us through our grief, but to help us live in new ways.

In his book,"The Awakened Heart", Gerald May wrote, "...the journey of presence will take us places we would not have chosen for ourselves. Some of these places turn out to be filled with beauty and joy; others show us painful brokenness in ourselves and in our world. At such times what had felt like trust now feels like taking a risk. And it is in the risking, not the trusting, that we most fully live our consecration."

Joan Cooke opened herself up to a journey of joy that has led her through grief into an unknown, sometimes risky territory, where she has seen much human brokenness, and incredible hope.