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Scenes from Sabbatical: What a Wonderful View

First appeared in November 2008 Redeemer Newsletter

At our family cottage in Quebec, we have a burying ground of sorts.

lakeIt is tucked away in the woods, halfway between the campfire and the lake, and marked by a ring of stones, with one white stone in the middle. It holds the ashes of several of Jenny’s family members.

One afternoon at the cottage this summer, as the kids and I were trudging through the woods looking for sticks to roast marsh mellows, Ellie stood up, looked around and said, “What a wonderful view from here. Daddy, Daddy, what a wonderful view. It is so beautiful.” She was enthralled by the beauty of the woods and the golden light of the sun shimmering off the lake through the trees. Little did she know she was standing right next to that sacred ground, which was chosen precisely for that wonderful view.

At this time in the church’s year, we remember our departed loved ones, those saints that have gone before us into eternal life. We especially remember those saints that have died in this last year.

Ed Ahlstrom
Betty Foster
Dorothy Frey
Gordon Leisk
Gary Sandgren

Though we grieve their passing, we remember that they are with God and that the view there is beautiful. We can imagine that God’s presence is as cool and full of life as a forest bed and as inspiring as the golden sunlight reflected off the lake.

As I think of these saints and that wonderful view they now enjoy, I am reminded of a poem by Wendell Berry called The Peace of Wild Things:

When despair for the world grows in me
And I wake in the night at the least sound
In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds,
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought
Of grief. I come into the presence of still water,
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

If you have lost someone is past year, Deacon Diane and I invite you to join us for our annual bereavement group on November 16th at 3:00 in the Comfortable Space. For, it is in sharing our stories that our memories are strengthened, and it is in sharing our grief that we find we are not alone.

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