Four Funerals and a Shooting

In case you have been puzzled by my whereabouts these last many days, let it suffice that I have been to the aforementioned four funerals. Yes, in the space of ten days, I was at four funerals. This season of the Long Dying was made brilliantly manifest when the husbands of two friends both lost their battle with damned cancer, an elderly and much-loved neighbor died somewhat before we expected and a young and brilliant man could no longer face life as it had unfolded for him.

In between, I did not finish a rough draft of my book on ceremonies and may have set that aside for the foreseeable future. I have written hardly at all–except for a sermon for the dear UU congregation that serves as my home away from home and some assorted bits here and there.

The shooting in Connecticut has left me almost wordless but angry on so many levels.

It is the longest night and I should be an inspiration but I am tired and have a ceremony at midnight, one at dawn and another at noon. So I will leave you with the benediction I spoke tonight at our interfaith commemoration for the victims of last week’s shooting.

Here it is:

The Sun has set and we sit at the threshold of the longest night of the year.

I think fear may be the most contagious disease of all. More contagious than grace or courage, it seems so easy for us to fall prey to a fear that isn’t even our own. When we are faced with events like the inexplicable tragedy in Connecticut last Friday, we are invited– through the bad news and disruptions, through the mourning and the anger—to engage not only life, but our own lives and those beings whose lives touch ours.

As we leave this soft and solemn place, let us reconnect with the power that both is and runs the Universe. Let us learn from the ancient knowing of the landscape, and continue this journey to the deepest parts of our collective heritage and our own being. Let us set aside fear and sit together by the symbolic fire of our shared experience, our shared humanity, our shared life force.

May we all blessed be.

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