Acquainted with grief

The church’s way with death

In a famous scene in the film The Sixth Sense, a haunted little boy tells his psychologist that he sees dead people. The doctor asks, “How often do you see them?” The child replies, “All the time. They’re everywhere.”

As a pastor, I know how he feels. I see them too. At least, I almost do. Years ago, at the end of a three-week stretch that featured four funerals, I went for a jog through my neighborhood. As I ran past houses and apartment buildings, I glanced at the ones where my parishioners lived, and I thought, “They are all going to die. Each one of them will have a coffin.” I don’t see ghosts. But I do see people headed toward the grave. They’re everywhere, especially at church. That is one of the things that church does. It introduces us to a bunch of mortals.

 

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