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自两年半前担任第二 CRC 牧师以来,我主持了我的第十六次葬礼。 第十五次葬礼是在两周前举行的。 葬礼似乎分批进行,尤其是当中西部冬天的可怕性到来时。第十五次葬礼 —— 以及其他六次葬礼 —— 以军事荣誉结束。 我从来没有经历过服兵役之前来到第二。 在我的安大略省南部 CRC 社区,大多数年龄足以在第二次世界大战服役的人都会作为荷兰公民这样做。 我们的圈子里没有多少参与过最近的冲突。 谷歌快速搜索 “加拿大军事葬礼” 出现了一些政府网站,但没有一大堆信息,这项服务实际上是什么样子。 因此,我唯一的军事荣誉经验是我在电视上看到的,就像在西翼的场景,当托比齐格勒战斗,以确保一个无家可归的朝鲜战争兽医的军事葬礼。现在,我有一个独特的优势,这些仪式,坐在舞台上,面对会众,刚刚结束宗教仪式. 我看着步枪后卫向下向棺材致敬,然后游行到他们的岗位就在前门外。 我看着颜色护卫一丝不苟地展开旗帜,并保持它绷紧。 我可以看到谁在会众向旗致敬,总是惊讶于在房间里的退伍军人的数量。 我看到那个玩家站在门外,当他玩水龙头时,我看到眼泪流下来的家庭在前排。 面对大门,我比其他人更准备枪开火。 我跟随每个荣誉守卫成员,因为他们洗牌向棺材致敬,双手举起并放在无休止的缓慢。 实际上,无休无休无休的缓慢似乎定义了军事服务。 精确、目的和敬畏是一天的命令。 几个星期前,当我看到这些仪式展开时,我想到了马里林·罗宾逊的吉列德的一段经文,这是另一种葬礼。 牧师约翰·艾姆斯回忆起有一天与他父亲在一起,因为社区清理了一座烧毁的教堂。 人们在温暖的雨中工作,当他们拖下完好的讲坛,制作了一堆曾经的点燃,挖了圣经和赞美诗,一直在唱熟悉的赞美诗,射击孩子们的道路。Ames 说:“当他们收集了所有被毁的书,他们为他们做了两个坟墓,把圣经放在一个圣经里,把圣经放在另一个圣经里,然后那个教会的牧师 —— 我记得是一个浸礼者 —— 为他们祷告。 我总是惊讶,看着大人,在他们似乎知道在任何情况下应该做什么的方式,知道什么是体面的事情。” (94) 这是我想到的最后一行,当我看着这些人,一只手举起敬礼,另一只手握着拐杖,因为他们尊敬他们的同志。 这是体面的事情。 这些行动和动作以及缓慢、稳定、有目的的仪式,这些仪式已经在全国各地成千上万的男人和女人共享,在几个小时后,我再次想到了这条线,当我看到星期天下午播放的篮球比赛的剪辑。 火箭队和掘金队在比赛前保持了长时间的沉默。 马刺和猛龙队,鹈鹕和凯尔特人分别采取了 24 秒钟的拍摄时间违规行为,以致敬科比的 24 号运动衫。 其他球队将 8 秒的后场违规作为点头神户第 8 号球衣。 这是一种方式来纪念他们自己的一个人谁意味着这么多的游戏,这么多给他们。 这是一件体面的事情,我不看篮球。 我知道科比・布莱恩特这个名字,但我不能告诉你他是为什么球队打的。 我有我的意见关于名气和金额离谱属于体育明星的水平。 但是,如果我没有撕裂看着这些礼拜在周日下午在全国各地付出,该死的。我也不是美国人。 我觉得这些葬礼有点尴尬,因为我握着我的手在我的心脏,当 标志显示。 作为一个很好的自我弃绝的加拿大人,我通常对我在这里遇到的爱国主义和军事自豪感有点困惑。 但是我还没有通过军事葬礼而不哭。我认为这是因为,无论我们的许多不同意见,我们都可以认识到什么时候有什么事情是体面的事情。 而且还有一些关于体面的动作。 在这个世界里,我们常常觉得我们正在经历,试图做正确的事情,不想冒犯,不断地整理信息,并试图做出明智的决定,找出如何共同生活,我们分享的仪式,我们同意的仪式,有一些美好的东西,只是感觉正确的仪式。 当我们可以成为一个东西的一部分,无论我们的意见或意识形态如何,因为我们尊重某个人,或者某个地方,使我们大家聚集在一起。 “奇怪的是逆境的用途,” 艾姆斯在解释莎士比亚时写道。 “我记得我父亲在雨中的脚跟下,从他的帽子上滴下水,用他的焦手给我吃饼干,在他身后的一个古老的黑色残骸... 悲伤本身经常把我带回到那天早上,当我从父亲的手里领取圣餐时。 我记得这是圣餐,我相信那就是这样。” (96) 我的第一次葬礼是一个可怕的磨难,但我现在开始爱他们。 我爱他们,因为我能够宣扬复活的希望。 我爱他们,因为我喜欢火腿包子和 Ryke 的蛋糕。 但我也喜欢他们,因为四十分钟,我们可以参与一个体面的事情。 一个仪式,时间已经考验为正确的事情。 在那一刻,我们可以彼此和在我们面前的圣徒,以及以奇怪和甜蜜的方式利用逆境的神。

Laura de Jong

Laura de Jong serves as pastor of Second Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Michigan.

12 Comments

  • James Schaap says:

    Very beautiful. Thank you. I’ve been reading too much, maybe, about the Battle of the Bulge recently, 75 years in our past. But I’ve read more than enough to say that I think what you’ve written here is also “a decent thing.”

  • Daniel J Meeter says:

    Just marvelous. I loved this. I loved how your choice of words, the “decent thing.”

  • Jan Zuidema says:

    So fittingly written, bringing to mind all those moving moments in honor of men and also a few women who served. It is comforting to know that there are still so many ‘decent things’ happening in our world.

  • Beautifully said, says this old Army helicopter jockey.

  • Jeff Carpenter says:

    When Dad passed, over a decade ago, he was given military honors as a WWII veteran (China-Burma-India Theater) by the local VFW-American Legion group. Mom insisted, though, no 21-gun-salute, and no guns in the church. When my father-in-law passed 8 years ago, church funeral, but burial in a national cemetery (Korean War veteran), with honor guard and full military ceremony on site. Both events were deeply moving, each appropriate to the men honored. Decent things for decent men.

  • Walter Ackerman says:

    Thanks for honoring those who have served in the military and those who have served as honorable parents and grandparents. I have been at a number of military funerals since I left the Army. After returning from Viet Nam I had only a few months left in the Army. I was asked by a Officer if I would be willing to a go with the caskets of fallen solders to their homes. Doing this provided me with wonderful experiences. I prayed with families after the caskets were removed from the airplane and before being taken to the funeral home. Yes it was the ‘decent thing’ to do as well as a Christian thing to do. Thanks for you continuing sharing that love to relatives and families.

  • Jan Hoffman says:

    Interesting. I have bit my tongue, yet feel a need to speak. I’ve also officiated many funerals with military honors and have found the experience very negative. For me, the liturgy and proclamations of Christ and Hope were negated by the stiff military precision, gunshots, flyovers and taps. The contrast between state and Christian faith comes, for me, to a head at these times. I’m thinking, though. I appreciate your writing and the comments.

    • Laura de Jong says:

      Thanks Jan. I’ll say this is also a tension for me. Someone else commented similarly on the Facebook post, wondering why the military service is often more appreciated or emotional for people than the religious service. And I don’t have an answer for that, except perhaps that there’s something about a military service that’s more embodied than the religious service – which is primarily words being said, and not actions – and people want/need to have their grief embodied. So there’s the question of the juxtaposition of the religious and state, which we certainly have to wrestle with. But I also wonder if there’s something we could learn from military services about what people need in a funeral. But I’ve just started pondering this.

    • RLG says:

      Too bad, Jan that you have negative feelings toward the military honors. They are simply a way for our government and nation to express appreciation fo service rendered.

      • Jan Hoffman says:

        Yes, RLG, for military service rendered. My grandfather and uncles were farmers and served our country well at home. They were refused military service by their local draft boards. My father and uncle were ministers and missionaries and served our country well. My friend was a conscientious objector and served in a hospital well. There are many ways we serve our government and our country well, in fitting ways. I think we need to be careful about the ‘decent thing’ we do in one situation and not another.

  • Susan says:

    You are a gifted write. You have helped me understand and appreciate funerals and why we are there. Thank you

  • Dana VanderLugt says:

    Laura,

    I love reading your posts. I started to read today the blog today without looking at the author’s name and just a little bit in recognized your voice. Thanks for your continual honesty, wisdom, and thoughtfulness.

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