For more commentary on this week's readings, see the Reflections on the Lectionary page, which
includes Oglesbee's current Living by the Word column as well as past magazine
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As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the
ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are
also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when
disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.
One sister came to our inner-city church when she was in her
mid-50s. She became a close friend and steady hand in the congregation.
However, within two years of our mutual discovery, she abruptly learned that
she had a terminal cancer. There was nothing to be done. It's not hard to
remember how her grief at first overwhelmed her. She complained to me bitterly.
Having come to this new community and a new life, now could this all be taken
from her? "It's not fair," she said. "It is too soon."
However, the bread of sorrow was not all she received. Her
spiritual friendships and the care of many people enabled her to open herself
to her one last perfect storm, her only death. One day, in the midst of the
struggles, she insisted that I listen to a recording I'd never heard before, by
Enya. The song represented her own path and growing confidence, and it became
an anthem for me, too. The song was "How Can I Keep from Singing":
My life flows on in endless song Above earth's lamentation. I hear the clear though far-off hymn That hails a new creation. . . . Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, How can I keep from singing?