Poetry and Burials...

I buried one of the community's saints today - a 96 year old former banker/ball player/musician - who was fair and honest as that day is long and gentle and kind, too. In preparation for his funeral I came across this poem by Diana Der-Hovanessian that cuts to the heart. As one singer/scholar told me afterwards, "No easy pass in this poem, nor cheap victimhood either, just the hard, complexity of fathers and sons."

When your father dies, say the Irish
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians

When your father dies, say the Canadians
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the British,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever
and you walk in his light.


This brilliant New England poet gets it so right. I give thanks to God that I have been given the privilege to be with others at the start of the journey - births and baptisms one day - and at the end - hospitals and funerals the next - as well as everything in between.

After a pre-marital conversation tonight with a sweet couple, who asked me where I stood on gay marriage, I said: "I don't pretend to understand love. I don't fake it about understanding God either. All I know is that what God has brought together is sacred whether I understand it or not. So, because my tradition has hurt so many in the name of the Prince of Peace, I want to be a little part of the compassion and healing. I was honored to pastor the first Open and Affirming church in Arizona and I support offering blessings to all people who seek God's love in their commitment. So... yes I honor gay - and straight - marriage because it is all sacred. What's more, I have come to see that all love - gay and straight - is of the Lord."

So... for all those fathers and mothers and children... for all those young lovers and old ones, too... for those who are grieving and for those who are rejoicing...

Comments

Black Pete said…
Amen to that, brother James. Amen and thanks for the Yusuf Islam video.
RJ said…
Thanks, my man. Glad you had a safe and rest-filled vacation, too.

Popular Posts