History Being Made

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As I write history is being made, not the kind we should be proud of.  For the first time in the history of the major leagues a regularly scheduled baseball game is being played closed to the public.

The Baltimore Orioles are hosting the Chicago White Sox in their home park of Camden Yards.  Because of their fear of the racial unrest in Baltimore spilling over to the ball park , city officials and Major League Baseball made the decision to play the game without the fans.

On Sunday we concluded a three week discussion on race relations in our Adult Class.  Many of us expressed our hope that our country had moved beyond the racial tension we are seeing.  We read the ELCA Social Statement Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture.  You may be surprised that this statement was written by the church in 1993.  I’d expected this document to be dated, but given the events in Baltimore and throughout the country recently this word from the church is eerily current .

The task of the church to work for justice and peace remains.  Our country continues to be plagued by racial unrest.  This is not God’s intent.

In our class we named God’s vision for racial equality.  We confessed the sin of racism, acknowledging our own participation in it’s evil.  And we lifted up the challenge for the church to be advocates for racial justice.

As witnesses to the living Christ we seek the truth of racial equality.

Let us pray for Baltimore and all places across

our nation who continue to battle injustice and violence…

“O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.” (ELW prayers)

 

 

Monument Shopping

I’ve always called the stone at the head of a grave, not surprisingly, a gravestone.  Some call it a tombstone.  Which, by the way, makes me think of frozen pizza.  Really, there is a pizza name a Tombstone.

But last week I was told that neither of these terms are correct.  For those in the know, the proper term for the stone at the head of a grave is “monument.”

As long as I can remember I would drive by Twin City Monument in my home town, right there on Main Street.  It always made me a bit uncomfortable; like driving by Kessler Funeral Home, a subtle reminder of death.

But last week my brother, sister, and I walked into Twin City Monument to choose a gravestone, I mean monument, for my father.

It wasn’t so bad.

Ever since my father died I’ve actually been pretty much at peace with this whole thing.  And surprisingly I found myself resonating with the sales pitch.  I know, it’s weird to say that about a gravestone, I mean monument, but that’s what it was.

I know my father is not in that grave.  Still, as the salesman said, the monument marks his life.  We drive by cemeteries feeling kind of creepy about the dead, especially at night; but really, cemeteries only remind us of those who have lived.  Which is why we place the monument at the head of the grave.

 

As cremations rise in popularity it is easier to opt out of burials in cemeteries.  Ashes can be spread on the ocean, in the mountains, in the garden, or really anywhere I guess.  I know it’s a personal decision, and after shopping at Twin City Monument, a cheaper one too.

But I’m glad my dad will have a monument.  I never really thought about this before, but I think I will find comfort when the monument stands at the head of his grave.  As I grieve his death I’m  glad that he will have a place that will mark his life.