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  • Writer's pictureAlice J Stewart

The Burying Club

Main Idea: Aging, dying, living eternally


We lost another parishioner this week. That’s three in almost as many months. I will miss the mischievous sparkle in her eye.

Some days in smaller mainline churches, it feels like we’re in an extended episode of Survivor. Sometimes it feels like we’re here to bury each other. Last one standing turn out the lights when you leave.

And yet there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a blessing to know who will bury you. It’s an honor to love folks until the end and remember them regularly. It’s a gift to hold those who mourn. To shed tears alongside them. It's a gift to share this part of life and love each other. So many people will never know this kind of love.

The Church is not focused on death. But neither are we afraid of it. That’s because we’re resurrection people. That’s because death has lost its sting for us. That’s because we know and welcome the author of eternal life.

Can we say the same thing about our smaller mainline churches? Will they die? No. They will transform. We can shutter the building and disperse, but the latter is always optional.

You don’t have to disperse. You never have to disperse. You can lose everything, but if you have each other, then you are the Church. You will be the Church until the last person is left standing.

So let us not be fearful or downcast. Instead, let us make our song even at the grave — Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

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