The lectionary readings for All Saints Day and All Souls Day include lovely words and images of God’s care for us and the Divine's promise of eternal life. In the face of death, these are the promises we cling to as Christian people. And they are good promises. True promises.
And, to be quite honest, annoying promises to have repeated to you over and over and over again when you are in the midst of deep grief.
A friend of mine recently posed this question on Facebook: Junior high girls braiding each other’s hair in church: appropriate or not? Considering this friend has never been a junior-high girl nor parented a junior-high girl, the question seemed sincere and did not bother me.
What did bother me, however, was the frequency with which one particular word kept popping up in the comments: distracting.
Lent was a fairly new concept for me when I was in college, and one year I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice—chocolate. I still remember standing in the ice cream parlor, looking at the luscious rocky road and chocolate swirl and brownie chunk ice cream–and choosing butter pecan. Butter pecan. Such is the suffering I was willing to endure for Jesus.
I think now that the whole endeavor was a bit melodramatic.