I did my first nonreligious funeral yesterday.
In my final two years of formal ministry, I didn’t believe in heaven or hell but my audience did and I wasn’t going to open up a debate in the funeral chapel. It became increasingly difficult to stay within the parameters of Christian sentiment so I relied more and more on liturgical texts to get me through the service.
Now I’m writing my own thoughts. No liturgies. No divinely inspired words. No oracles of any kind. Just my stuff.
Here’s what came to me yesterday:
I’m told that all matter comes from stardust. For a moment in time, tiny space particles came together to make something extraordinary–a human being. I suggest that this body has changed form and has come a step closer to its original oneness with the universe. I wonder what new life will be formed next from these remains.
And what will we make of the remainder of our lives?
I spent a lot of decades coming to the conclusion that everything that happens in our lives–our losses and gains, sadness and happiness, success and failure, hatred and love–has only the meaning we make of it using our perspective, wisdom, and practice. We take what has occurred up to this moment and use it to give meaning to the next one.
“I used to say, “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust”
Now I say, “Stardust to stardust and moment to moment.”