Romans 14:7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.

I don’t like funerals, and yet, I believe the Anglican liturgy gets some very important things right. One of these is the reading by the priest during the procession into the church… “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For if we live, we live unto the Lord; and if we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

What this says to me, among other things, is that none of us is truly alone, in life or in death. Granted, there’s an existential reality that no one can escape, but there’s something deeper too, another layer of experience where the warp and woof of life is tight. It’s a weave we’re all a part of. The church calls it the Cloud of Witnesses. I like that metaphor. Indeed, this image helps me through even the saddest of funerals, because, in an odd way, it gives me the sense that the person I’m mourning is more intensely present than ever. We’re still connected, it tells me. We are never alone.

MOVING FORWARD: Do your family and friends a favour, and if you haven’t done so already, write down some directions for your own funeral. It’s an amazing, life-giving, and thoughtful gift to offer your loved ones.