Last evening’s Commemoration of All Faithful Departed service at our church was beautiful and personally meaningful. I had it marked on my calendar for some time, as I wanted to attend to remember my father, who passed away earlier this year.
The choir’s music was beautiful, with Mozart’s Requiem interspersed between the readings. The first of those readings is from the Book of Wisdom and begins, “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall ever touch them.”
We put the names of loved ones departed into a basket, and during the prayers of the people each name was read while members of the congregation could come forward and light a candle. (As an aside, I loved hearing baseball legend Monte Irvin remembered among the departed.)
Lovely. Thoughtful. Deeply moving.
And when I saw that The Rev. Emily Griffin was the evening’s preacher, I knew all three of those feelings would continue. We have three very insightful and thoughtful priests who enlighten us each in their own way with powerful words.
Emily began her sermon by saying, “There are other ways we could be doing this,” and continued by recounting various ways we remember our loved ones. That’s when my mind took off.
For earlier on Saturday, Andrew and I had our own special “Commemoration of All Faithful Departed” for Daddy/Granddaddy.
When we brought furniture home from his house in August, I threw in his DVD player, knowing ours was on the fritz. It took me until yesterday to check it out and plug it in. Andrew was helping me, and after we had it connected, I said, “Let’s see if this thing works.” We turned it on and out popped a disk. Andrew picked it up and started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“Guess what movie Granddaddy watched last?”
My father loved the broad humor of Mel Brooks, and we both immediately doubled over in laughter at the thought of my 90-year-old father laughing at such lines as:
Mongo only pawn in game of life.
Hello handsome, is that a ten gallon hat or are you just enjoying the show.
[Jim the Waco Kid to Bart, the African-American sheriff, after the old woman insults him] What did you expect? “Welcome, sonny?” “Make yourself at home?” “Marry my daughter?” You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know…morons.
So what was our commemoration? Why we sat down and watched the entire movie, and Candice said the laughter could be heard throughout the house. Andrew texted his sister and some of the cousins with the news of our find and Claire wrote back, “I wouldn’t have expected anything less of Granddaddy.”
It was a glorious celebration.
So thanks to St. Alban’s Church for the lovely and meaningful service. And thanks to you, Daddy, for having such a wonderful (and wise) sense of humor.
More to come…
Image: St. Albans in Washington, ready for the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed by DJB