Signs of Ending & Letting Go

Homily for Sunday, November 27, 2016
First Sunday of Advent

6770916105_4081e531a4_bSigns of endings all around us, darkness, death and winter days,
Shroud our lives in fear and sadness, numbing mouths that long to praise.
Come, O Christ, and dwell among us!  Hear our cries, come set us free.
Give us faith and hope and gladness.  Show us what there yet can be. – Dean Nelson

Two years ago Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.   As many of you may recall, she died a month later, just after Christmas.  Two years ago today when my parents went to church, the opening hymn was the hymn we just sang:

Signs of endings all around us, darkness, death and winter days,
Shroud our lives in fear and sadness, numbing mouths that long to praise…

Neither could make it through the hymn.

Advent – the Church’s season of New Year that we begin today – reminds us that life changes, and that change always involves letting go.  Let me say that again:  Advent reminds us that life changes, and change always involves letting go. Continue reading

Grieve as Those Who Have Hope

Homily preached by the Rev. James La Macchia
Trinity Parish of Newton Centre
April 24, 2016
The Fifth Sunday of Easter-Year C

Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 148
Revelation 21:1-6
John 13:31-35

My Friends:

insight_melissa_grieving-angelAs you and I know through personal experience, grieving is very hard work.  Every loss of any significant attachment—whether it’s a role, a job, our health, a marriage, a home, a pet, a parish or a person—requires us to let go of that attachment; to adapt to this radical change in circumstances; and to find our way in the world without that cherished and familiar person, place, or thing.  Fortunately, grief and trauma have been much studied and understood in recent decades, and we now know that “good grief” evolves through identifiable stages characterized by shock; numbness; denial; bargaining; anger; depression; and acceptance.  We also now know that these stages do not unfold in an orderly and successive way, and that we never entirely leave any of these stages behind, even when we engage fully again with a life and with a cherished memory of the lost.  Even in acceptance, there will be moments and occasions when we re-visit those earlier stages of grieving.  And, if it is a truly significant loss, we know that the pain never entirely dissipates; it only becomes less acute over time.  “Time,” regrettably, “does NOT heal all wounds” and, like the risen Christ, we carry those wounds with us into the larger life of eternity.  These wounds may be transfigured by God’s grace, but they never entirely vanish.  Even in this life, we know that every new loss has the potential to stir up all previous losses, especially if we have not fully grieved over them. Continue reading

Grief, Loss and Resurrection in Ezekiel

Sermon for Sunday, April 6, 2014
Lent 5A

Ezekiel 37:1-14

ezekial

In addition to having a lot to offer us, I think Ezekiel is a fan of Sarah McLachlan.  Ezekiel has a lot to offer us because, as can happen to us, Ezekiel loved something – LOVED it – and had it taken away from him, and his story reminds us of how God works new life even in the midst of loss.  What Ezekiel loved – and what was taken away from him – was the Temple.   Ezekiel was a priest who loved the temple – I mean, LOVED the temple.  Ezekiel loved it’s buildings, its rituals, its priestly class, its place in Hebrew society, the order and meaning it brought to life.  Ezekiel LOVED the temple… and then God took it away from him.  When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in the 6th-century BC, Ezekiel was carried away into exile into Babylon and not long thereafter the Temple was destroyed. Continue reading