This week, our conversations at St. Dunstan’s Church start with Elizabeth Ann. As most of you already know, Elizabeth Ann Hutson died on Monday morning after surgery for injuries suffered in a fall. Around the church, and in our conversations, there is a sense of unreality, of dislocation, and of grief. Elizabeth Ann has been an important part of our community for decades now, and we loved her very much.
When we lose someone close like this, there can be the sense that the whole world stops. The rest of the world fades away and all that is present is our grief as we begin to go through the rituals and obligations that follow a death in the family. When we are in this state, it can be a shock to realize that the rest of the world goes on without us. Don’t they know? Don’t they realize the huge hole that was just torn in our lives by this death? And yet the banks on Wall Street keeps selling stocks. The revolution in Libya continues. Our government continues to struggle with the national debt. People still are going to work, to the movies, and out shopping.
The world goes on, but here, in this church congregation, our loss is known. Here, our little community of Christians takes a moment to stop and sit with our love for Elizabeth Ann, and experience the change in that love now that she has passed. For Ann-Patrice and Don, and for their family, the world has stopped. We, as their church family, will need to care for them until their world begins to turn again.
That pause, to love and remember, is one of the best reasons I know to do the work of the Church. Here, we are known and loved. We care for one another, help one another, and encourage each other to grow ever more Christ-like. The good news, the Gospel of Jesus, is that God is present to us now. We can know God’s love by sharing that love and by taking that love out to that busy world. That busy world that keeps on going even when someone we love has died – that world needs God’s love just as much as we do.
So, we will stop, grieve, love, and offer comfort to Elizabeth Ann’s friends and family. We will celebrate Elizabeth Ann’s life and continue her work. In our relationship with Elizabeth Ann, in our care for Ann-Patrice, Don, and the rest of their family, and through the building up of our little church congregation, we will continue to experience the love of God. I thank God for the generous contributions that Elizabeth Ann made to the world and to our church.
Yours in Christ,