May 7, 2008
Dear Centenary friends,
May 15, 2008
Dear Centenary family,
May 28, 2008
Dear Centenary Friends,
?Blessed are those who mourn,? states Jesus in the Beatitudes. I know a few people who might want to argue with him. I have some friends who are in the midst of grieving and mourning the death of their son, a junior in college. Unbeknownst to them or to any of his friends, the young man had become fatally depressed ? literally. He ended his life as he struggled with the dark night of the soul, leaving everyone to shake their heads. His parents, family, and close friends were understandably shocked by it all.
It was my sad responsibility to share a homily and give the young man?s eulogy a little over a week ago. Approximately 900 people crowded into the sanctuary. What does one say? Are there any words which can break through the grief and mourning? What in the world was Jesus talking about when he said, ?Blessed are those who mourn?? My friends have been dealing with breaking hearts. The shock and trauma has been overwhelming. How are they blessed?
Nicholas Wolterstorff has helped me to see a little more clearly what Jesus meant. In his book, Lament for a Son, Wolterstorff tells the story of the death of his own son. He shares how he believed that for the rest of his life he would look at the world through tears. ?Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see.? Wolterstorff goes on to note, ?The mourners are those who have caught a glimpse of God?s new day, who ache with all their being for the day?s coming, and who break out into tears when confronted with its absence? The mourners are aching visionaries. Jesus says: Be open to the wounds of the world. Mourn humanity?s mourning, weep over humanity?s weeping, be wounded by humanity?s wounds, be in agony over humanity?s agony. But do so in the good cheer that a day of peace is coming.?
So? we grieve with hope. If you discussed all of this with Ben and Laura, I suspect they would hesitate at first if you asked, ?Are you blessed as you mourn the death of your son?? Then they would dab at their eyes and utter a shaky ?Yes.? ?How are you blessed??, we might ask. They might answer, ?We have been overwhelmed at people who simply stood with us and did not offer trite or easy answers. We have been blessed with stories. The hugs from others have been powerful and have sustained us. Our lives are changed because we miss him. Right now we see the world through tears. But we know that God is with us. And we know that this moment does not define Wes? life. God will not let us go, so we are blessed.? I think that is what we might hear about their mourning.
We celebrate the wedding of Jeremy Gray and Kelley Bowden this past weekend. Several persons from the Centenary family were present. I am attaching a picture to this email of the newly married couple.
The Trustees and Finance Committee have put together a plan to replace the roof on the bell tower. The original terracotta shingles which have been in place for 97 years have finally bitten the dust. You will be hearing lots more about this project?. June 15 is a big Sunday for us. You will be receiving more information about the project as we move toward that day. Be on the lookout for special mailings which will arrive around June 9. It will give you the details of the project and the challenge before us.