Knowing when to be quiet....
I just got home from a memorial service. The deceased is the daughter of a weaving friend. The family is devastated at the loss of this young woman. They worked with their pastor to put together a beautiful and fitting memorial service to commemorate the life of this young woman as well as express their belief and hope of an afterlife where she may now be at peace. My friend is not a young man and I'm deeply concerned about his broken heart.
In the middle of the service, after the pastor had shared the scripture and comments about the young woman's life, there was an interlude. Quiet organ music played and there was silence. It was noted in the worship bulletin: Interlude/Meditation. So why did the middle age couple behind me feel this was their moment to carry on a conversation, not in a whisper, but in normal conversational tone?
In today's culture, is it too much to ask a person to keep their thoughts to themselves, out of respect for others, for 3 minutes?!
Before leaving home for the memorial service, I checked the news online while listening to Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition where this segment which finishes with "Anna Nicole Smith's death makes some question how they lampooned her life." It's a beautiful segment and I hope you'll click on the link and listen. Scott Simon, a broadcast journalist, speaks with words that are kind, thoughtful and generous.
As counterpoint, Rev. Marcus Sheffield, pastor of First Baptist Church had these words for Anna Nicole Smith: "Anna Nicole is not somebody we consider one of our own, one of the great citizens we're proud of," said the Rev. Marcus Sheffield, pastor of First Baptist Church, who did not know Smith. "If people connect her with what Mexia is, I'm not proud of that."
What kind of pastor doesn't know the basic courtesy of speaking well of the dead....and if you can't find anything nice to say, be quiet? What kind of Christian pastor is not familiar with the concept of "comfort those who mourn"?
I hold a leaderhip position in my church, a Lutheran church (obviously a more liberal church since women are allowed to be pastors as well as lay leaders.) One of my responsibilities is working with lay leaders to do the pastor's performance reviews. If one of our pastors had made such an insensitive public statement, my phone would be ringing off the hook and my email box would be full.
Perhaps this topic is on my mind because I was engaged in an email misunderstanding this week. I fired off an email response to, what to me, is an exasperating ongoing situation of people behaving badly. And so, I behaved badly. There were hurt feelings, apologies, reconciliation and now I think we are beginning to move forward on addressing the exasperating situation. I should know better and should have been quiet, or at least waited for a face to face conversation. The other party should also know better. But we are human and here we are.
Fiber News: I'm on the last chart for the Swallowtail shawl. The red is so delicious! Maybe I'll have photo's for Valentine's day. Meanwhile, it's back to the loom this afternoon to work on those kitchen towels.
And now, I'll be quiet.