Speaking openly of death: 5-31/6-1-14
May 31, 2014
After speaking to an adult group at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Kansas City the other evening about leaving a spiritual will and spiritual legacy, I was happy to see this piece in The Kansas City Star last weekend about "The Death Cafe."
The cafe idea is one more in a series of badly needed efforts to get Americans to quit being death deniers and to start to integrate the reality of death into the reality of life.
Another way we move the conversation about death and dying into the public square is to hold events in that square. That's what Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care does each year when it sponsors the "Circle of Lights" event next to the Nichols fountain on the Country Club Plaza.
That recent event (pictured here) offers people the opportunity to put the name of a deceased loved on on a luminaria. Those luminarias then line the sidewalk in the park and form the backdrop for a relatively brief service of remembrance.
It's quite a lovely event and hundreds of people attend each year -- some fresh from having just lost someone. My friend Bob Hill, pastor of Community Christian Church across the street from the park, leads the service and always has helpful words to say to people in mourning.
Faith communities should be taking the lead in bringing the subject of death out of the closet. Some do, but too many don't challenge their members to confront the inevitability of death and to weave that inevitability into a life with deeper meaning.
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A TRAVELIN' MAN
I'm on the road this week so until Monday you won't find the usual second item here on the blog. But you can always get updates of religious news from Religion News Service here.
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P.S.: Do you have my new book yet? It's Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans, and I think you'll find it engaging. You can read about it here. If you want an autographed copy, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll tell you how we can make that happen.
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ANOTHER P.S.: It's time to sign up for the workshop I'm offering about getting from pain to hope through writing the week of Aug. 11 at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. For details of that class, click here. Come join us.