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只是要吹嘘我的会众一分钟。

那是我周日的生日 我和许多人的生日降临在这个隔离期间,期待着一个安静的一天。 我打算为我的 THM 班编写一篇论文(我知道-op Zondag,但是日子真的重要了吗?) ,打电话给我的家人,并有一杯葡萄酒。

然后上周我的朋友(我看到这些天的极少数人之一)说,她想给我带早餐。 一个享受! 她在 9:30 出现(原因 #quarantime),并开始从她的面包车,并在我的车道上设置了一张折叠桌,草坪椅子,格子桌布,花瓶鲜花,牛奶蒸笼,和培根。

“你知道我的后甲板上有一张桌子和椅子,对吧?”

“这是隔离。 我们将有一些乐趣与它。”

够公平

所以我们在那里,笑着喝咖啡,在轻快的阳光下,向邻居挥手,当他们走狗的时候,这将是一个比我想象的更好的生日。 十点钟,教堂的钟声在街对面。

“教堂的时候了!” 我开玩笑。 然后更严重的是,“奇怪的是,现在没有见到人。”

当时,在街上的几个街区,一辆警车的警报器开始在灯光闪烁的时候哭了。

我很肯定我们会惹上麻烦因为在我的车道上一起吃饭

艾米莉,虽然,说,“也许有人被拉过来。 我们应该去看看。” 一个相当尴尬的事情要观察,我想,但我得到了。

我们没有遇到麻烦 警车是在约五十辆车游行的前面,伸展下来的道路,充满了我美丽的,美妙的,亲爱的教区居民,气球飞在他们身后,海报板生日卡挂出滚动窗户,从中有些扔糖果,因为他们通过,因为没有大天堂游行是完整的没有糖果被鞭打到围观者的脸.

他们一个接一个地过去,喇叭,挥手喊着,“生日快乐!” 有人甚至在小号上演奏了这首歌。

这是惊人的。 令人惊叹。 我花了几个小时才恢复。 我的论文没有被写。

我的 29 岁生日,而不是作为有史以来最悲惨的生日之一,将被记住为有史以来最好的生日之一。

我也从别人那里听到过这个 人们正在以新的和令人愉快的方式庆祝。 人们发的卡比以前更多。 手机响起的频率更高。 每月交谈一次的家庭每周交谈。 每周聊天的家庭每隔一天都会检查一次。 我知道我自己的一周充满了 FaceTime 和家庭聚会以及 Zooms 和 MarcoPolos 与朋友和大家庭,否则我会每年和几次交谈,现在我定期检查。

这并不像我们在这一切之前不关心别人。 但我想也许我们的假设已经改变了。

也许,以前,我们认为别人会确保人们感到特别,庆祝和爱。 “别人会给他们发一张卡片。 我敢肯定,他们已经计划了一个派对。 他们的一天可能是如此充满电话和访客,我不想让他们疲惫。” 我知道我已经做了很多次这些借口。

但是现在,我们假设人们的生日或周年纪念日,甚至他们的周二晚上,看起来不像他们想象的那样。 我们假设人们将被孤立,切断,与他们所爱的人分开。 所以,我们站起来。 我们填补了空白。 我们生活在社区之外。

我在生日时忽略的论文是关于葬礼仪式教会学的。 葬礼后我经常听到的一个问题是,“有多少人在场?” 我的直觉是,我们想知道葬礼上有很多人,因为我们希望有很多人在我们自己。 我们想知道,我们属于,我们对人的意义是什么,我们过去是,现在是,身体的一个重要成员。

但如果我们宣称在洗礼中,我们都被嫁接到这身体,身体的每一个部分都需要下一个部分,那么属于的问题就不应该由会众提出。 我认为,与像汤姆龙这样的人一起,会众应该出席葬礼,无论个别成员是否很熟悉死者,因为会众与受洗的人签约陪同他们在他们的信仰旅程到最后。 我们出生于社区,我们作为一个社区的一部分生活,我们作为一个社区的一部分死亡。

这和生日游行有什么关系? 即使我用爱沐浴在我周围的社区温暖的模糊之中,我也清楚地意识到,有很多人在没有太多夸张的情况下庆祝生日是常见的事情。 在我们的教会和社区中,许多人在隔离开始之前感到孤立。 在我们的会众和社区中,许多人都想知道他们是否在身体中有一个地方,如果他们属于。

所以我想知道,在这个时候,当我们的假设受到挑战,我们正在进入填补空白,这是否也是一个机会来质疑谁可能总是觉得这种空白,谁觉得自己不属于,然后进入包围它们。 我认为,这个分离的时刻为我们提供了独特的机会,让我们互相回忆。 通过这样做,我们可以重新成为基督的身体,这将是一件值得庆祝的事情。

Laura de Jong

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

14 Comments

  • Daniel J Meeter says:

    Marvelous. Thank you. And Gefeliciteerd.
    I had the privilege of serving my first charge at an extremely old-fashioned Hungarian church in Central Jersey. Everybody came to all the funerals. All the funerals were big church services. The church bell rang three times a day for the deceased from the news of the death till the time of the funeral. Bell-ringing was the most important job of the custodian (his title in Hungarian was actually “bell-ringer”), and why they paid him with the use of a house next door–so he could be present to ring the bells, or his wife if she had to. At the time of the funeral, somebody would keep lookout to see three blocks down when the hearse turned from Main Street into Thomas Street, and then immediately he started ringing the bells (two of them, named Gyorgy and Gabor, for two Calvinist princes) and kept ringing as the till the casket was marched up in front of the pulpit and the last family members sat down in their pews. Then, upon the Benediction, he started ringing again for the whole thing in reverse, until the hearse turned up Main Street. This was not written down anywhere. Everybody just knew it. Those Hungarian funerals were the best in any church I served.

  • Dana R VanderLugt says:

    We have celebrated two April quarantine birthdays in my house for two of my sons, and I fretted about how sad they would be. Neither was. The gift of presence turned out to be most of what they wanted/needed. My newly christened 11-year-old announced to me at bedtime that it was his “best birthday ever.” Beautiful and thoughtful post. Thank you!

  • Scott Hoezee says:

    Once again, Laura, lovely and so very poignant in the end. Thank you.

  • What a wonderful perspective. Happy Birthday.

  • Jim Schaap says:

    What a blessing –for you and us. Thanks.

  • Gail Miller says:

    Beautiful! Thank you!
    And I would love to read your thesis when it’s done!

  • Henry Baron says:

    That birthday surprise present will bless you for a lifetime, Laura!
    Yes, I agree – the deceased church family should be present at the funeral.
    How sad to know that too is now not possible. But a car parade maybe to support the grieving?

  • Carolyn DeNeut says:

    Laura – you make me proud to know you and that you are an alum of where I work. Thank you for your wonderful words…and Happy Belated Birthday! 🙂

  • Ron Nydam says:

    Hello Laura,
    I rarely respond, but I found this piece so delightful. A very happy birth day for you! Great congregation! My wife and I were married in that sanctuary years ago.
    A comment to your paper. I find it quite troublesome that we now ” celebrate the life of” at memorial services with no body, no dead body, before us.
    A funeral to be a funeral need a dead body, it needs to confront death right before us. It ought to begin as a time for lament, a time for real life sorrow, mourning. With our culture, we are now doing grief-lite. It would only be a true celebration were we truly happy that that person finally died. To call such a celebration is truly crazy-making. Enough said. Enjoy Grand Haven! A great place to be alive!
    Ron Nydam

    • Jan Zuidema says:

      As a long time organist who has played numerous funerals through the years, I’m so thankful for your characterization of grief-lite. No matter our joy for the person made whole again, in the presence of the Lord, we need to recognize and voice the grief and hole in the fabric of our lives at the death of a person who we will never touch, speak to, care for, or laugh with again. I find some of the ‘sharing’ that now goes on to be an exercise in dead-aggrandizement, leaving those present wondering if their kids or friends will gush when they’re gone. Information overload at our funerals.

      • Anthony (Tony) Diekema says:

        Indeed, Laura………..know now that you are ministering in “the one true church”. 🙂 Truly a touching and delightful piece. Thanks!

  • Dan I love this story! So rich. Brings back memories of living in Germany and the church bells, of visiting Hungary and the warm full of life and strength people. Thank you for sharing this.

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