I truly believe in heaven, and while I do not fear what lies in the beyond I just don’t understand death and, especially in this situation, how someone who is the picture of vibrant health can in such a short amount of time go from living to dying. We celebrate the lives of many, inspired individuals this week and our Saints List at GA this week is long—many of whom I had the pleasure of knowing. Yet, death stings. (I have some stronger, choice words but I will spare you my real sentiments). A friend and I were discussing that the real marker of being an adult is often times having to make the best decision in order to face the day when all of the options presented are crummy.
My friend, Lemuel, is sedated due in large part because all of his organs have failed….all except one. His heart. Which really doesn’t surprise me because of his enormous capacity for joy and love. Lemuel and I met over 6 years ago through a mutual friend because we all were passionate about using artistic talent to make the world just a little bit better while simultaneously raising money to help fund other non-for-profits organizations whose mission was to help those in need. We always had an extremely talented, generous, fun, grace-filled pool of talent for our concerts due very much in large part to Lemuel’s connections. He was a singer, dancer, and director and had toured the world doing a variety of shows. Colleagues were fiercely loyal to him and with just a phone call they would happily give of their time and talent to any cause he believed in. Lemuel was generous, faith-filled, kind, lived life with joy and a twinkle in his eye, never had a harsh or unkind word to say about anyone, was quick to laugh and ready to listen. He worked hard, inspired others, gave tirelessly of his time and talent, and radiated love. It was no surprise that when he became ill people starting posting pictures of light and candles on his facebook wall and a facebook group that has over 450 members was formed called “Light and Love for Lem”.
This is what the Saints teach us. Love ultimately wins the day. This is the hope we find in the cross. This is why when faced with the horrors of the world—the greed, corruption, the sadness, the selfishness of human beings, and senseless death-we can find the peace that passes all understanding. The Saints, our loved ones, and Lemuel are proof that love activates.
My favorite benediction, which was set to music and performed by the entire ensemble at the second fundraiser concert our team produced is how I leave us this week. May we love one another and live with joy as a way to honor the Saints in our lives—those wonderful individuals who have gone before us and who dwell among us. (And as my daughter used to say when she was two, “I love you Lemon”.)
Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who make the journey with us. “So . . . be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.” And the blessing of God, who made us, who loves us, who travels with us be with you now and forever. Amen.