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The companionship of the dead…

March 15, 2007

Working on the sermon for Grandma Unruh’s funeral on Sunday. In my preparation, I came across these beautiful words by Henri Nouwen. I am being stretched more than ever before, but with it comes a deeper appreciation for the spiritual community I am a part of–those living and dead.

As we grow older we have more and more people to remember, people who have died before us. It is very important to remember those who have loved us and those we have loved. Remembering them means letting their spirits inspire us in our daily lives. They can become part of our spiritual communities and gently help us as we make decisions on our journeys. Parents, spouses, children, and friends can become true spiritual companions after they have died. Sometimes they can become even more intimate to us after death than when they were with us in life.

Remembering the dead is choosing their ongoing companionship.

Henri Nouwen

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ted Gossard permalink
    March 24, 2007 10:49 pm

    Brian, Interesting thought from a man I too truly respect and appreciate. It could very well be true. At least remembering them is certainly edifying for us. And they are part of the communion of saints.

  2. Gecko Girl permalink
    March 27, 2007 2:20 pm

    I heard something very interesting the other night on TV. I am not meaning to trivialize this post in any way, rather it made me think of what you wrote here. I happened to catch the beginning of that show, Deal or No Deal, where people basically gamble for $1 million dollars.

    A woman who got chosen to play expressed her deep respect for her grandmother who had passed on. She said that her grandmother still gives her advice and she still listens to her grandmother today. During the part of the game which I saw, the woman got to a point where she was not sure what she should do. She had three other people there to help give her advice, but instead she said she just wanted to stop for a moment and listen. She closed her eyes and indicated that she wanted to listen to the voice of her grandmother. It was not a drawn out lengthy thing and I did not sense she was doing it like a telepathy type of thing, just that she had listened to her grandmother’s voice, advice and example all those years. It was if she was waiting to “hear” what her grandmother would say to her in reference to that moment in time. A couple times it was just expressions or proverbs her grandmother used to use that the woman sensed her grandmother was giving her again to help her.

    Anyway, I do not know that this woman was a Christian, but I suspect that she would say she considered her grandmother a “spiritual companion.” I really did sense a sincerity in her even though I am not sure I would ever ask my grandparents to give me advice in a game of chance like that!!! :-) I just found it interesting in light of what you wrote here.

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