One of my favorite hymns from Singing the Living Tradition is “We Laugh, We Cry.” What a succinct way to describer the circle of life! Throughout human history, there has been a need to commemorate the milestones of our lives, from cradle to grave. Rituals help us make meaning of these significant events. I have helped over 50 couples celebrate their intimate relationship in a public way, in various settings from the foot of a waterfall, the beach, to a more traditional church setting.
Even more moving sometimes are celebration of life services, even for people I’ve never met other than the stories their beloveds tell of the life of courage and legacy of love they leave behind. “The memories we share with friends, they will linger on and on.”
As regional staff, I have also been part of several installation and ordination services. What a great way to welcome colleagues into a new ministry and to recognize their call to serve our faith. Rituals help us connect to something larger than ourselves, to our ancestors and clouds of witnesses that surround us in life and in life beyond death, reminding us we are not alone.