One of the events that we all know with absolute certainty that will happen while we are alive is that one day we will die. The rest of what will happen in our lives is fairly certain if not quite open. Tolstoy in his short story ‘What men live by’ made it poignantly clear that we do not know the hour of our death and actually rarely plan for it much. Yet, it is of growing importance for us, as we travel along the path of life that we tend to know more and more people who are alive and working in the realm of spirit. As we hear in the funeral service our thoughts start to incline to that realm which calls us home.
In our western culture living in an awareness of those who have crossed the threshold and the way they concern themselves with our lives is not a well cared for practice. In fact we have so marginalized both the aging and the dead that we are almost embarrassed when death enters into the community or family life. We also do not really, as a culture allow for grief very much. We feel a lot of pressure to move through the process of letting go fairly quickly and getting life back to normal without too much disruption.
Each year we have a time, when the sun stands in the realm of Scorpio, when we have generated a season of looking to our relationship with the dead. In Christian tradition we have called it all saints and all souls day. In Pagan tradition it is known as Hallowe’en or Samhain. Even in a more secular sense we have Remembrance Day in November for our war dead. While it is good to have a season each year where we can focus our attention on developing this new relationship to those across the threshold it can also lead us to ask how we can integrate this more into our everyday life.
During the Act of Consecration we are also reminded that the sheltering forces of those who have died ray towards us. What does this actually mean? How can we experience the sheltering power of the deceased in our community? One way is to consider what a person might be going through in regards to their own understandings and knowledge once they die. No person has completely completed their thinking about life and knowledge when they die and spend many years still trying to bring certain ideas they have been working on to maturation. The same applies to ideas and initiatives they had when they were alive. A certain amount of will remains unexpressed when we die. Where do these find expression? It can be a wonderful experience to allow us to feel that an inspiration or an idea can be partly guided and sheltered by those who we know across the threshold. The deceased have a great interest in inspiring and allowing their unfinished ideas and initiatives to be part of the flourishing of community.
In many ways it actually up to us to open our hearts and minds to their raying help and guidance. In our community life in the Christian Community we can also actively open our listening to the loving support that the dead want to send to us. Many of us already have an active payer life with those across the threshold, but maybe for some of us it is a fairly new idea that we can call upon the loving support and guidance from a part of the community that are not in the flesh with us. Hopefully these words will encourage us to become livingly aware of the dead.
Posted by Martin Samson