A week ago I led a memorial service, a celebration of life, for a two-day old. It was excruciating, as you might imagine. It was also stunning and beautiful, as you might not imagine. Pain was real and evident, but more present was the love that surrounded these two parents and these three grandparents.
That service came on the tail of four other deaths in our congregation, all women in their nineties.
We were just about to enter the sanctuary with the paschal light when the pastor carrying the Christ candle turned around and said in a stage whisper, “Aaron is here.” At first I thought he’d said, “Karen is here,” which I already knew—she came to church on Easter even though her mother had died two days before. I must have had a weird look on my face because he said again, “Aaron is here.” And I knew that our second Easter service of the day would now be up for grabs.
A year or so ago the story of Jacob wrestling the angel came up in the lectionary. My husband preached that day, and as he read the scripture I sat up at the last line: “And he was limping because of his hip.”