Note: Once a year hospice chaplains are usually charged with developing an Interfaith Service of Remembrance for the families and friends of our patients who have died. In my experience, the fatal flaw in interfaith services is that the seek the "lowest common denominator" which inevitably leads to the kind of bland, boring service that is like unto eating Twinkies and singing Kumbya. This service is not like that. It's a lovely layering of several cultural expressions about faith, hope and love. We conducted this service tonight and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The prayers were led by a variety of staff. The music was led by our Music Therapist who did a few solos along with one of our Chaplains who sang "Portrait of My Love". I post this here mostly to save this service for myself for future reference but also for your consideration and use.
In the rising of the sun, and in its going down, we remember them..
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as they live, we, too, shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
"Tell your Heart To Beat Again" (solo)
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.
Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.
The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.
Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.
Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.
We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.
Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.
Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.
When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.
May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.
in the ways we move forward in our lives
and bring our world forward with us,
who gave us strength in this choice of living.
It is right to name the power of hard lives well-lived.
We belong to the same motion.
They too were drawn on by the vision of what might come to be.
who struggled for justice and suffered injustice before us,
have not melted into the dust,
and have not disappeared.
The lives they lived hold us steady.
Their courage and love evoke our own.
we are their voices, their hands and their hearts.
and with them choose the deeper path of living.