By Contributor Eric Blauer
Facing death in a faith community is always a difficult experience, especially in a culture where death is both trivialized and avoided with a false sense of reality. People today are flooded with a commercialization of death avoidance that oppresses the aging and lies to the young. This multibillion dollar business machine is promulgating empty promises that leave individuals ill-equipped to manage the passing of someone they love.
I lit one large candle to represent the life of the loved one. Then I had the congregants who have recently lost loved ones light their own candles from the flame of the single candle. I shared how the light of their life has impacted them and they can carry the light of that influence from this moment on into the future. We then extinguished the single candle to represent their loved one’s death and as the smoke ascended, I read Hebrews 12:1, “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” and talked about that ‘great cloud of witnesses’ our loved ones have taken their place within and how we all will be reunited in the age to come. We then placed the lit candles on the altar for the rest of the service and prayed over the grieving members.