Friday, September 30, 2011

When the Mormons Meet...

This weekend is General Conference.  Over the course of 2 days the Prophet and leaders of our church speak to us. It takes place in 5 2-hour sessions (which is daunting if you have an 18-month old--that's a lot of church) and it's broadcast all over the world and translated instantaneously into more than 90 languages.  We'll be watching it from the comfort of our home as it streams live over the internet (I like to call this pajama church which if you are anything like me is the best kind of church). The instruction is good.  It's mostly lots of the same things--be kind, help other people, be grateful, take care of your families.  Nothing ground breaking but always a spiritual experience and always lots to learn.

If I had to make a biblical comparison for understanding sake, I would ask you to imagine that Moses and Aaron were planning a weekend of instruction and they'd asked everyone to gather and listen.  That's pretty much how we feel about it--burning bush and all.

So I've spent this week praying that my heart will be open, that I'll be ready to hear the things I need to hear and that I will be ready to change my life. Consequently it's been a pretty tender week. 

Today I heard this story from story corps which made me cry (like really cry, while I was at the gym--wasn't pretty).  Father Mychal Judge was the first casualty of September 11, 2001.  The story is an interview with the Father who was asked to give the homily at Father Mychal's funeral.  The story is beautiful and you should really listen to it but if you can't here is an excerpt from the homily:

Mychal Judge’s body was the first one released from Ground Zero. His death certificate has the number one on the top … and I meditated on that fact of the thousands of people that we are going to find out who perished in that terrible holocaust … Why was Mychal Judge number one? And I think I know the reason. I hope you’ll agree with me. Mychal’s goal and purpose in life at that time was to bring the firemen to the point of death, so they would be ready to meet their maker. There are between two and three hundred firemen buried there, the commissioner told us last night.
Mychal Judge could not have ministered to them all. It was physically impossible in this life but not in the next. And I think that if he were given his choice, he would prefer to have happened what actually happened. He passed through the other side of life, and now he can continue doing what he wanted to do with all his heart. And the next few weeks, we’re going to have names added, name after name of people, who are being brought out of that rubble. And Mychal Judge is going to be on the other side of death … to greet them instead of sending them there. And he’s going to greet them with that big Irish smile … he’s going to take them by the arm and the hand and say, “Welcome, I want to take you to my Father.” … And so, he can continue doing in death what he couldn’t do in life …
And so, this morning … we come to bury Mike Judge’s body but not his spirit. We come to bury his mind but not his dreams. We come to bury his voice but not his message. We come to bury his hands but not his good works. We come to bury his heart but not his love. Never his love.

Somehow this felt like the perfect way to kick off this very important and spiritual weekend--a reminder that the good we do in this life lives on, that it does make a difference.  That when we are each returned to the dust of the earth those we love and serve will come to bury our bodies but not our spirits, our minds but not our dreams, our voices but not our messages, our hands but not our good works, our hearts but not our love...never our love.

1 comment:

  1. You keep writing...I'll keep learning. Sound like a deal?!