October 26, 2009

they perished as though they never existed

St. Paul's lost a saint this week. J didn't show up to setup for coffee hour with her friends and they were worried. Two people drove to her house to check on her and found her on the floor. No one is sure how long she was there. Medical intervention kept her alive for five more days while they tried to figure out what happened. Her own strength kept her alive for four hours after life support was removed. But at about 1:45 Friday afternoon, J died.

Her friends will remember her.

Her nieces and nephews will remember her.

Her church will remember her.

But J, like so many others, will someday be forgotten. She has gone on to paradise and awaits the Resurrection of the Dead, but as the author of Ecclesiasticus says, she "perished as though [she] had never existed." No state funeral. No eternal flame in Arlington. No sightings at her elaborate Memphis home. No helicopters following her body to the ME's office.

J, a saint in our church and a saint in the Church, has died, without fanfare. But the promise remains true - her glory will never be blotted out. This is why we read from the BCP Lectionary this week. This is why we celebrate all life. This is why when I stand at the altar and celebrate the Eucharist, J's name will be on my heart as I pray that one day we might join all the Saints, even those who have long since been forgotten, in the joy of God's eternal kingdom.

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