Posts Tagged ‘Death’


Those who are in the journey of something new emerging within the death of Christendom. That is the Christianity that has been more about power and control, than the gospel teachings of Jesus, lost a unique wisdom teacher today. It is not unique, that this thought process would emerge out of Anglicanism (or as his tradition would be dubeed, Episcopalian) that seeks to inquire, bringing together the dialogue partners of faith, reason, scripture and tradition together. Especially one, that traversed many ways a secular world wrestled with, and celebrated the diversity of the Imageo Dei (while churchdom lagged behind in some circles).

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "BISHOP JOHN SHELBY SPONG June 16, 1931 Spetember 12, 2021 Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those ofus who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed."

Bishop Spong (his books listed here), journey began with a passionate love of scripture. The stories of the Holy Mystery with their creation (and vice versa), it was the story re-told in his memoir of being gifted a KJV bible that I could resonate with in my own faith journey a few years ago. But it was not my first encounter with the Bishop. I was barely into my time back into churchdom as an adult, stumbling through discovering how to teach Sunday School, being supported by mentors in the church to join the Alberta Mentors Foundation for Youth, that I begam my confirmation journey while a studnet at Mount Royal College. Part of this journey was discussing one of his recent books, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, an intriguing introduction to explore what it meant to be a member of church, to understand a declaration of faith.

What did it mean?

For those who have served with me in ministry (and the various contexts I define being in ministry within my life), it truly was giving permission to be curious. To explore the why behind beliefs, values, supposed morals, visions, missions and mandates. To be able to look behind what groups (sacred or secular) saw as their “sacered cows” or the uniquitous, well that is just how we’ve alwasy done it, and allow the still small voice to inspire… inspire to understanding. Inspire to serve and see the blessing of other as a wonderful creation with full and inherent worth.

Many of this was alreay in place in my life,

but this exploration opened up what many view as static to be alive.

For those who have followed my life story, read Soul Ripples, and the reflective posts that followed, know that the ide of the three phases (I would term books) of life that Bishop Spong shared aided in shaping my health recovery. It was a hard and grateful time of cure, but grieiving of loss of the path I had been on. This simple idea is what came through to begin to unpack that my life is a trilogy, and simply book one had ended, on a cliff hanger, like an old movie serial…

As Bishop Spong’s third book closes, he joins the grand tea party (which he may or may not appreciate the metaphor), my second book is moving from prologue into chapters….

And I simply wonder, where the Spirit will guide next?

Thank you, Bishop, for being apart of the theological dialogue of my life, with my experience, other scholars and practicitoners, coming together to be wrestled with in finding my own Via Media, of belonging for all within what is being birthed anew as institutional church out of empire, out of political and financial power is dying…

What resurrects, is shaped by us as the body of Christ.

To follow more of the thought leaders visit Progressing Spirit

Perhaps, it is time, to find the time to shape a new book…

Legacies

Posted: September 1, 2018 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , ,

Movies and media make us want to believe that our lives should be remembered. That legacies should be left for the next generations. 2014’s Book of Life (Fox Studios) and Disney*Pixar’s Coco (2018) touched upon these celebrations of remembrance. In Coco, touching¬† on the fact as well, that if not remembered one’s life legacy simply fades away. My daughter discovered Glee (Netflix and Public Library) and in season 5 they have a memorial episode for the actor, Cory Montieth, whose character Finn was mourned. The episode ends with Puck and the Coach at a memorial tree discussing the dates of a person’s life, but the line in the middle being the most important piece.

The line.

The most innocuous reminder of one’s life lived, the ups, the downs, the scraps, the victories, and the hope that the world is a little better off for one having lived here. The story lived out.

What I am reminded of this week at a mentor’s funeral, a 40 year Anglican priest, who asked his service not be religious. For life cannot be so easily classified…not secular or spiritual or religious or whatever label one chooses. Life is life lived. From music on the piano of a medley of favourite tunes (including lovely bunch of coconuts) to stories of a life challenged and challenging, of drawing the circle of belonging wider and what that meant in personal means.

Makes one wonder how lives will be remembered? How one’s own life will be remembered? As we attempt to create a memorial that suits what we are told is appropriate or within bounds, we lose the essence of the story lived. To a simple 8 page comic story in IDW’s 50th anniversary Star Trek collection,¬†Waypoint¬†(2018) (I encourage you to find a copy and read all the stories, even the rest of this one), but how these first few pages sum up the world’s view of legacy:

The Yeoman from this classic episode remembered only as the panels say, a dehydrated death…had so much more to be remembered for. Yet we have no control over our legacies. Will we be remembered for the tantrums? The arguments? The losses? The wins? The simple acts of kindness? The humanity we showed one another? The love spread? Or simply forgotten… like a red shirt on an away mission.

Simple words, from St. Paul written to a rather roughshod crowd of the ancient world. What do they mean for our lives lived today? How do we choose to remember those who have come before us? To remember ourselves and our contemporaries?

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (English Standard Version)

Our lives are a collection of stories. What happens if we make love the centre of those stories? What happens when we choose a better world consciously each day.

Does the legacy of yourself change?

Or does it even matter any more?


I have been blessed in my 21 years of ministry to be involved in many great blessings. From blessing civil weddings; watching equality rights flourish; acceptance and belonging in spots for all people; breaking bread at a potluck; public prayers and laments; fun sing-a-longs; Serving the Eucharist; hearing one’s Truth and Reconciliation journey; anointing; affirming calls…teaching, speaking and preaching on all manner of topics from a holistic perspective, being apart of creating sacred and sanctuary space or more simply, home, for community and individuals… and yes all this across a myriad of spiritualities and philosophies.

Ashes to Ashes

Dust to Dust.

-Anglican BCP Funeral Liturgy excerpt

Yet, one thing is an outlier. Grief and change. We do not want to grieve. For we equate grieving with death.

Yes, grieving is a part of death.

But grieving is also apart of change. Minor or major dependent on the change (transition) within our lived lives. It is why recovery of any can, is challenging, for there is a transitional change and we mourn what is now, and have trepidation for what is to be born.

Much the same, in the 600 journeys I have had the sacramental (sacred) privilege with family, friends, clients, neighbours, and congregants in journeying with to what lies in the next life.

The great unknown.

One thing I have always stood in when it comes to grieving and loss of life in this world, is know what you believe. Be open to learning and discovery. Those two pieces are invaluable before entering into any kind of human service, for they will not teach it in a text book, it is an experiential discovery that has sidelined many a vocation earlier than necessary.

It became a discomfortable expertise, but a comfort in my own belief system and aiding someone in discovering/affirming their own beliefs whether it be in healing from their own grief, or becoming comfortable with their own transition. Also being able to sit in the silence, with the tears that heal, and know that sometimes, there is no pat “holy answer” (despite what every religion, spirituality and philosophy of life tries to peddle to you) and that it beyond acceptable and okay in life. I never knew 21 years ago cracking open an old King James family Bible to teach some Junior high youth that one of my sacramental expertise’s would become the funeral liturgy, and the journey of grief.

What I do know for sure:

I have no clue what comes next from this life, and that is okay.

I do not know why children die, in fact it is kind of a universal dick move.

But I do know the great cosmic story, and the greatest thing is love. From that breath of love is the source of the cosmic dust we share with all of creation. We are birthed into this world…and when we pass away from this world and our physical body returns to the elements…

The soul cosmic born of love, returns to the eternal river that is love.

The journey of life is simple, live the love your were born from.

Some Listening:

Kenny Chesney “Get Along” video here.

Luke Bryan “Most People are Good” video here.


2016

 year of endings.

Globally some say,

hope died.

The fight for hope in spite of fear is rekindled

Many scholars, poets, actors and fools crossed over

from the global world.

Down home…

it was a time of professional loss

In community served

the little deaths and ends

as lockers packed

apartments packed up

doors locked

lives locked away

to be unlocked by a new.

Personally

S-H-A-T-T-E-R-E-D

Matriarch no more

—Pain

the littlest of us getting their wings

empty school room hooks

tears of a son,

hugs of a mum.

Not knowing how to fix as a simple Dad

what is shattered within.

Empty seats of what was thought as sanctuary

ripped out like stuffing from a neglected teddy bear

YET…

in the midst of the death

the loss

the endings…

a New beginning awaits

Not just the close of a chapter

or a year

but a book

for a new one will appear

as I hold the death card in my hand,

I choose not to reflect or live into the end that has been

but embrace the beginning that is to come…

for at the end of every dark hallway

a light can be switched on

it is the light I choose

to live into

out of

and through.

to a new year

a New Hope

is lit.

The Death card is about endings, and that includes the ending of a life. What everyone seems to forget, however, is that the Death card is not exclusively about the end of a human life. In fact, it’s far more likely that the card is telling you that a goldfish or a houseplant will die. Death can mean the “end” of anything: The end of an era, the end of a trip, the closing of a restaurant, the breaking up of a band, the conclusion of a very rough week.

From: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/death.shtml

 


This is an open letter to the Minister of Education David Eggen, and to the Calgary Board of Education from a father of a special needs child.

This is not a letter focused on the unconstitutionality of school fees; or the ridiculousness and injustness of paying busing fees when a coding system makes my son a number, and I have no choice where to send him because his local school cannot support him, although those are pieces of a system not seeing a full child.

This is from a father grieving with his young son over the loss of a best bud. Think of when you were in elementary school and your partner in shenanigans and adventures? Now think back to what would happen if they died?

What happens in the CBE special needs world?

A form letter home to parents and then nothing. You as a parent are left to tell your child that their friend will no longer be in school, or coming over.

What I know in the typically developing stream of public schools a death of a classmate, a school shooting would result in deployment of grief counsellors to support staff and students in the process moving forward.

But, the special needs world it is crickets we are met with. Silence, not even personal phone calls to the actual classmates families (c’mon you are looking at classes of smaller than 14); and then staff who are suffering in an abnormality of a child not out living their parents, and expected to still do their jobs same day and moving forward.

Speak of trauma? When the response is: well death is a normal part of this community. Pardon my language but Bollocks. This is about kids, pure and simple, that are there one day, and gone the next never to come back, and adults and students left to process or not process.

So this is one father’s plea. Please quit reducing my child to not a full person, he hurts, he cries, he can use support. When any child (regardless of coding) passes away in the school system, please please please, bring the resources around that community to heal and move forward. So staff, students, and in case of financial stresses, parents–can access on site support to help them grieve and heal healthily.

Because silence just perpetuates silence and silence is pain, and yes silence is neglect, and silence can be abuse.

We are better than this.

Thank you.

Sincerely

One Father who has shed far to many tears with his son for such a short life time.


There are many versions of the Nativity of the Master Teacher known as Jesus Christ, more historically accurate, Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Bar Josephson. There is the canonical gospel stories that appear to overlay many of the mystery religions of the ancient world’s tales of divine birth. That being in the Gospel of Luke where we find Mary’s calling or Joseph’s calling.

Yet what if other historical accounts were accurate. Think of how Jesus’ was referred to in the Gospels, the son of Mary…could it be that in an oppressed land, where the oppressed were seen as lower than cattle, where women were seen as lower than that, could there be a possibility that he was the product of rape and then so that Mary would not be killed by the mob or put aside to live out a life of destitution or prostitution, Joseph took her in to raise a child not his own.

Through this act of divine love, the child was blessed because of this and grew in unity with LOVE from the get go which opened up the ability of this enlightenment, an achievable step for all of humanity if we live into and out of the same divine spark within us all.

Could this be why the next story to hear is not so jarring? Is it because it was not shocking to Jesus for he knew that within the flow of allness that Joseph was still with him and his Mum? Surely he is not the callous asshole this passage can portray? But in different times, different hearings and different life passages we may experience different things.

As we enter in to chapter 30 when Jesus hears of Joseph’s passing, have your tools present to express what comes through for you, whether that is journaling, crafting, colouring, wood work or painting there will be an expression at the end of this Lectio Divina.

Settle into comfort, prepare your soul to hear this story for the first time. Slow your breathing, connect with the source. Feel the room you are in, the chair, bench or cushion melt away. You are in First Century India travelling, learning and discovering. Enter into the story through the Sacred Heart of Brother Jesus.

Upon this first reading, what phrase leaps out at you? Let that phrase rest with you into your meditation time for a few moments.

Reading One:

Chapter 30

Jesus receives news of the death of his father. He writes a letter to his mother. The letter. He sends it on its way by a merchant.

1. One day as Jesus stood beside the Ganges busy with his work, a caravan, returning from the West, drew near.
2. And one, approaching Jesus, said, We come to you from your native land and bring unwelcome news.
3. Your father is no more on earth; your mother grieves; and none can comfort her. She wonders whether you are still alive or not; she longs to see you once again.
4. And Jesus bowed his head in silent thought; and then he wrote. Of what he wrote this is the sum:
5. My mother, noblest of the womankind; A man just from my native land has brought me word that father is no more in flesh, and that you grieve, and are disconsolate.
6. My mother, all is well; is well for father and is well for you.
7. His work in this earth-round is done, and it is nobly done.
8. In all the walks of life men cannot charge him with deceit, dishonesty, nor wrong intent.
9. Here in this round he finished many heavy tasks, and he has gone from hence prepared to solve the problems of the round of soul.
10. Our Father-God is with him there, as he was with him here; and there his angel guards his footsteps lest he goes astray.
11. Why should you weep? Tears cannot conquer grief. There is no power in grief to mend a broken heart.
12. The plane of grief is idleness; the busy soul can never grieve; it has no time for grief.
13. When grief come trooping through the heart, just lose yourself; plunge deep into the ministry of love, and grief is not.
14. Yours is a ministry of love, and all the world is calling out for love.
15. Then let the past go with the past; rise from the cares of carnal things and give your life for those who live.
16. And if you lose your life in serving life you will sure to find in it the morning sun, the evening dews, in song of bird, in flowers, and in the stars of night.
17. In just a little while your problems of this earth-round will be solved; and when your sums are all worked out it will be pleasure unalloyed for you to enter wider fields of usefulness, to solve the greater problems of the soul.
18. Strive, then, to be content, and I will come to you some day and bring you richer gifts than gold or precious stones.
19.¬†I’m sure that John will care for you, supplying all your needs; and I am with you all the way, Jehoshua.
20. And by the hand of one, a merchant, going to Jerusalem, he sent this letter on its way.

Meditate on the phrase for about 5-10 minutes.

Stay in time and place resting in the Sacred Heart, as you prepare to hear the story again, what memories are invoked when you were literally at a crossroads on a journey as Brother Jesus was? What was your decision? What emotions came through as a result of that decision? Let that decision rest in your soul for time after the reading.

Second Reading:

Chapter 30

Jesus receives news of the death of his father. He writes a letter to his mother. The letter. He sends it on its way by a merchant.

1. One day as Jesus stood beside the Ganges busy with his work, a caravan, returning from the West, drew near.
2. And one, approaching Jesus, said, We come to you from your native land and bring unwelcome news.
3. Your father is no more on earth; your mother grieves; and none can comfort her. She wonders whether you are still alive or not; she longs to see you once again.
4. And Jesus bowed his head in silent thought; and then he wrote. Of what he wrote this is the sum:
5. My mother, noblest of the womankind; A man just from my native land has brought me word that father is no more in flesh, and that you grieve, and are disconsolate.
6. My mother, all is well; is well for father and is well for you.
7. His work in this earth-round is done, and it is nobly done.
8. In all the walks of life men cannot charge him with deceit, dishonesty, nor wrong intent.
9. Here in this round he finished many heavy tasks, and he has gone from hence prepared to solve the problems of the round of soul.
10. Our Father-God is with him there, as he was with him here; and there his angel guards his footsteps lest he goes astray.
11. Why should you weep? Tears cannot conquer grief. There is no power in grief to mend a broken heart.
12. The plane of grief is idleness; the busy soul can never grieve; it has no time for grief.
13. When grief come trooping through the heart, just lose yourself; plunge deep into the ministry of love, and grief is not.
14. Yours is a ministry of love, and all the world is calling out for love.
15. Then let the past go with the past; rise from the cares of carnal things and give your life for those who live.
16. And if you lose your life in serving life you will sure to find in it the morning sun, the evening dews, in song of bird, in flowers, and in the stars of night.
17. In just a little while your problems of this earth-round will be solved; and when your sums are all worked out it will be pleasure unalloyed for you to enter wider fields of usefulness, to solve the greater problems of the soul.
18. Strive, then, to be content, and I will come to you some day and bring you richer gifts than gold or precious stones.
19.¬†I’m sure that John will care for you, supplying all your needs; and I am with you all the way, Jehoshua.
20. And by the hand of one, a merchant, going to Jerusalem, he sent this letter on its way.

Meditate on the decision for 5-10 minutes.

Stay within the Sacred Heart of Brother Jesus as you prepare for the third reading. Within these words, hear the parable of new life and old life. Who is calling you back to your old life? Who do you need to redirect to other supports so that you can continue on your new path? What new path is awaiting you if you will simply release the old?

Spend time contemplating this new path within this third reading.

Third Reading:

Chapter 30

Jesus receives news of the death of his father. He writes a letter to his mother. The letter. He sends it on its way by a merchant.

1. One day as Jesus stood beside the Ganges busy with his work, a caravan, returning from the West, drew near.
2. And one, approaching Jesus, said, We come to you from your native land and bring unwelcome news.
3. Your father is no more on earth; your mother grieves; and none can comfort her. She wonders whether you are still alive or not; she longs to see you once again.
4. And Jesus bowed his head in silent thought; and then he wrote. Of what he wrote this is the sum:
5. My mother, noblest of the womankind; A man just from my native land has brought me word that father is no more in flesh, and that you grieve, and are disconsolate.
6. My mother, all is well; is well for father and is well for you.
7. His work in this earth-round is done, and it is nobly done.
8. In all the walks of life men cannot charge him with deceit, dishonesty, nor wrong intent.
9. Here in this round he finished many heavy tasks, and he has gone from hence prepared to solve the problems of the round of soul.
10. Our Father-God is with him there, as he was with him here; and there his angel guards his footsteps lest he goes astray.
11. Why should you weep? Tears cannot conquer grief. There is no power in grief to mend a broken heart..
12. The plane of grief is idleness; the busy soul can never grieve; it has no time for grief.
13. When grief come trooping through the heart, just lose yourself; plunge deep into the ministry of love, and grief is not.
14. Yours is a ministry of love, and all the world is calling out for love.
15. Then let the past go with the past; rise from the cares of carnal things and give your life for those who live.
16. And if you lose your life in serving life you will sure to find in it the morning sun, the evening dews, in song of bird, in flowers, and in the stars of night.
17. In just a little while your problems of this earth-round will be solved; and when your sums are all worked out it will be pleasure unalloyed for you to enter wider fields of usefulness, to solve the greater problems of the soul.
18. Strive, then, to be content, and I will come to you some day and bring you richer gifts than gold or precious stones.
19.¬†I’m sure that John will care for you, supplying all your needs; and I am with you all the way, Jehoshua.
20. And by the hand of one, a merchant, going to Jerusalem, he sent this letter on its way
.

Mediate on this new path for 5-10 minutes.

Re-focus on your breath, feel the ancient world fade away, do not lose the Sacred Heart you experience the story through, for this Sacred Heart was not Brother Jesus’ but is your Sacred Heart that allows the Divine Spark to live within you, and you within it.

Feel your chair/cushion/bench/or pillow again. Feel and experience the smells, sounds and textures of the room you are in. Move your fingers and toes, bring your breathing up to a normal pace through deep cleansing breaths.

Whatever tool you chose for post meditation soul work, take up and create what your new path looks like as you have left the old in the ancient world and are ready to embark upon the new.


Yes we are that stubborn family that still hold to children do not belong at funerals. Once they are 12 years old, then they may make the chocie whether or not they wish to attend the funeral for the loved on who transitioned. And yes even with a British heritage, I still do not get or bother attending viewings of those who have transitioned or the open casket phenomenon, like I want my last memory of my loved one to be them in a box about to be loaded in a Cadillac and driven to a hole to be covered with dirt. When it is the remains unseen then I know the true essence has transitioned to truly be one unimpeded with the unvierse and reborn as it is meant to be with the Holy Mystery.

In my pastoral life I have done life celebrations for many clients and residents. I have also celebrated the lives of my Great-Uncle Red; Grandma Ragan (Dad’s Mom); Nan (Mum’s Mum); and my Mum (kid’s Nana). In their short lives they have lost their fish She-Ra; their Dido (Wife’s Grandpa); Granny (My Nan); Nana (my Mum) and many chidlren from my Son’s school, most recently one of his best friend’s/little girlfriend from the past four years. My son is in the special needs school system with classmates with many complex health issues, so sadly his friends transitioning have become a way of life.

What has this meant for my kids is at a young age living through grief, but also being open to the spirit world. When their Granny passed my daughter came home from Kindergarten to come home and tell us that Granny flew down in an airplane to visit her and tell her not to be sad, for she was on her way to a tea party with Jesus & Granddad and all her loved ones who transitioned before.

It is times of full moon and high spiritual times of the year when my son awakes at 2 a.m. to play and read as his ancestors visit with him, sharing his heritage, joys and fun. Yes these are even grandparents he never met like my Grandpa Joe and Granddad. Yes I know these are happening as the household energy shifts, but also the things he comes out of these times knowing are not things he has ever had shared with him.

So yes my kids experience sadness at the loss of the physical life here. Yes they are open to embracing the new life of their loved ones and the return visits. No, they will not be coming to the hospitals during the end times of the funerals for they still need to see the joy of the person’s life.

Being a parent has been the hardest vocation of my life, especially with the loss my little ones have faced in their short lives, especially as we enter the years when the last 3 in our family of the Greatest/Builder Generation will pass. But the truth of love in this time, is once these three have transitioned, I know the them unencumbered by physical, mental and cerebral earthly realities will come back and visit, and share a new adventure.

So what have I learned from my children during times of loss…it is not the end of the book, just the closing of a chapter, so a new one can unfold.


It is an ugly emotion

Let’s be honest

we think jealousy or greed

but really, Grief is what destroys

it latches on to our most carnal desires,

allows anger to seize control of a system that is too love…

Our command to love neighbour as self,

in grief possibly we can fake loving neighbour, but as the anger eats away at our insides, we truly are destroying ourselves faster than any addiction or razor blade would.

it is the root, of self-destruction, much like the love of money is the root of evil,

but grief festoons,

simply because

with loss we toss about so easily

“it is God‘s will”

What a load

of bull shit…

for how does God deem one beloved matriarch dies, while a beloved patriarch lives?

How one Mum wastes away from illness in the cells and another from illness unseen?

How it become easy, to hate one’s siblings, blood or other

as senses heightened like a were-wolf

smells out the weakness

and attacks to props one self up as higher…

Grief is destructive….

Needs the consolation of a beloved grandmother…

yet it is Nan that I miss

as she smiles down from Nirvana.