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I just deleted a comment that literally said "shame on you, Nadia" - so a gentle reminder: If you feel the need to leave a scolding comment to me or anyone else, please know that the entire internet is available to you. But not this corner. Here you will be kindly escorted out and offered a blessing...and a refund.

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It’s funny, I skipped church today because I was having my occasional “bad anxiety days” (PTSD) and messaged Chris, our organist, begging him to forgive me that I couldn’t make it to our little fledgling Lutheran congregation.

But when anxiety shows up like this it’s like I get spooked and become obsessed with death. Like, “what was that twinge?”

“Is this it? Is this how I go?”

And then I remember to eat something and I feel it ease off and end up feeling foolish. It’s like, “Fred. You’re not dying. You’re hungry and that makes you anxious.”

It just makes me wonder, after worry about it so much, that after we die - are we gonna be on the other side of it saying, “Was that what all the fuss was about?”

Sort of like when the hero finally meets the villain in the movie and says, “I thought you’d be taller.”

Anyway, Spc. Joe Price. Sgt. Lossie Brown. Gone but never forgotten.

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

As a hospice nurse, I see death more than most. But it became different when I began working at a hospice house. I struggled with guilt when I would be asked about a patient from 2 weeks ago and I would have to really think to remember. We loose about a patient a day so between them, all their family, and sometimes the drama involved, it is a-lot to physically and emotionally bring it back up to remembrance. I had to learn to compartmentalize, much like your idea about the suffering in our own village. I’m sorry about your nephew, I empathize for everyone of you who has a name to speak today. And it will never “be okay” on this side, but there will be a day.

My name spoken today is Ashley Kidd

Thank you Nadia for searching out these words of life and bringing them here for those of us who regretfully don’t always have the strength to do it ourselves.

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Dear Nadia - I just lost my 3 year old niece almost 3 weeks ago. We thought she had a stomach bug. Five days later, a trip to the ER and transfer to PICU revealed a cancer diagnosis. Just five hours after that, her heart stopped beating and nothing could bring her back. Last night, I had dinner with my 25 year old daughter who was railing against the injustice of the Palestinian slaughter, with less compassion for the Israeli victims. I told her I didn’t have the bandwidth right now to dig into details and feel the same rage - I can only mourn with *all* humans who have recently lost a beloved child. The day Nika died is a day when you posted something about our grief being sacred. It’s interesting to me that, once again, your sermon is so timely in my life. Thank you so much for your wonderful insights and sharing them with the world. I find comfort from your honesty, doubts, and faith.

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I’ve had reason to think about my own death quite a bit in the last two+ years. After two brushes with death in the OR (brain tumor removal...then two post-op bleeds), my heroic neurosurgeon saved my life twice. And he now calls me his miracle baby, even though he is younger than I am. I had gone over instructions with my loved ones in case something like this, or worse, happened.

One of my instructions was to play the song “Jordan” by Rival Sons at my memorial service. Here are a few of the lyrics. Truly a beautiful song.

“Jordan” - Rival Sons

I'd rather see you go in the arms of your angels

Than to stay right here with me

I'll meet you on the other side of the Jordan

Now let your soul go free

You did it all with feeling

And failure, you took it gracefully

You said, "Third star to the right, straight until morning

When you need me, you know that's where I'll be"

Now the rest of my life without you

Right now it's hard to conceive

You said, "Don't cry for me now, you've got to remember

There is no death for those that believe"

Since cheating death twice, the same band has released another song that will also be played when I pass...but maybe at the celebration part of the service, as it’s a pretty rockin’ tune. Words are also appropriate, given Nadia’s post today.

“Nobody Wants to Die” - Rival Sons

Nobody wants to die

But they know they're gonna have to

X's and O's, ribbons and bows

Ain't nothin' gonna save you (hey, hey)

Nobody wants to die

But they know they're gonna have to

Silver and gold, people you know

Ain't nothin' gonna save you

But whatever you do

Whatever you do, it's coming after you.

In sum: it’s important to think about one’s own mortality. It is inevitable. But there is no death for those that believe.

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founding

Did several hours of church on All Saints’ Day, (the episcopal way) we had 9 baptisms, a full house and our Eucharist service was joyful.

The reading of the names was done later that day and I did not attend.

Your observation about the end ( death) could also be reported as a transition or new beginning.

For me life has been a series of new beginnings . As I look in the rear view mirror I have lost count of the people that have influenced and redirected me in a positive way and can’t remember at all the negative ones.

I have experienced miracles and believe we already have scientific evidence of other life in our universe.

I am a follower of Jesus and acknowledge the power of prayer.

My sense of gratitude is present most of the time.

I am a free and loving man walking and listening in Gods light, endeavoring to help others along the way.

My wish for humanity is to learn to deny EVIL, love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

No matter our religion, we all are accountable to to the same higher power

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My 22-year-old daughter died on All Saints Sunday 22 years ago. Death details involved sickness, and I watched her die unable to breathe anymore with an enlarged heart and weak lungs. She said to me, “I think either God hates me or he trusts me a lot to give me all this to deal with. What do you think, Mom?” My answer was and is that God doesn’t cause the evil and hurt and sickness in this world. He is there with us as we suffer, and he is there to carry us through- one way or the other. I believe that with all my heart and soul. Her answer always was, “I know I’ll be ok no matter what happens. It’s you I’m worried about, Mom.”

But I’m still here. It’s never ok. But it will be. The love is real. The tears will be gone. God be with you, Nadia. Thank you for you.

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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

I was reminded of my own mortality when in 1996 I "woke up" in ICU to the sound of an overly cheery male nurse; why are they "still" cheery when delivering news like this:

"...Mr. Swenson, you had a respiratory arrest..."

I freaked for a half second, then realized that HE was hovering over ME, TELLING ME this.

Which meant that I was, for lack of a better term, "okay", even if I still was in the ICU.

My "opinion" on Death changed at that point, not that I was going to die or not, thanks for the reminder Nadia! But my view on Death as a conceptual framework...changed.

I realized that Death, more than likely, is not going to come with a Herald of Trumpets, or excitement...or probably even be realized by me at the time. Hollywood is "wrong"...apparently. Who figured?

I am...and then (I know horrible grammar) I am NOT am. I stopped FEARING Death, not to worry, I'm not chasing after it either. But I realized in that fractional moment, a lot of things that were important, no longer were, and a lot of things that weren't important...ARE.

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My sister Beth.

septic dead at 38.

Never did make time

to apologize for calling her fat.

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Dangit, Nadia! And here I am, weeping at my desk.

Also, thank you. I needed that. Much love to you and your family. May we all use our own griefs as the means to understand and hold tenderly the griefs of others. Amen.

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This truly touched me, reminding me, each of us are known by name, by Father, and loved, thank you Pastor Nadia.

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Thank you for that Nadia.

Remembering Adriann, the mother of two of my children, and the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

https://medium.com/@quasimodo/list/33c31a7fc650

Having made it to my 70s it's like I think about death All. The. Time. But it's not like I have a reason to. God has gifted me with good health and recently I was told by a friend, who volunteers in one of those programs where they try to find things for bored old people to do, that I'm having more fun in retirement than anybody she knows.

Even so I think about it (death) approximately as much as I thought about sex when I was in my 20s. I'm a guy who is in church every Sunday, more even, sings in the choir, takes the Eucharist, etc. but I can't escape the conclusion that if God is truly merciful, like everyone says, then when we die it's lights out. When I think about how long I might live I think, "What if I made it to 93? That would be 30 more years. I don’t want to drag this out THAT long!" So what would I do with eternity? Plus the abstract unification-with-God scenarios like the one you describe, well, that wouldn't be the ME, so what difference would it make? It's a beautiful conception, but why should I care?

That's my dilemma, my question, my problem. I can only pray that God takes me before things get bad.

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"Never really understood the appeal of spending eternity in a place that looks like it was decorated by Liberace": (laughing)

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Nov 6, 2023·edited Nov 6, 2023

About a year ago I walked my youngest brother, sibling through his second heart issue. This was serious. He is fifteen years younger but lived a life where, let's say, he did not treat his body well. This second go round would open him up and replace most of his primary heart vessels. The night before as I sat with him I was reminded again of our mutual mortality. He did well and is doing well, thankful for the era in which we live that gives us even more time for life. Our family history is a tell for our own mortality and 2 months ago sitting alone I knew something was wrong in my chest. I called my son and told him to text me to make sure I was up and about over the next hour. I would find out after a lifetime of fitness that my genetic history would catch up with me. Primary vessel 80% occluded. I would go in for a 3 hour heart cath. So for now I'm on borrowed time. All the fitness over the years maybe got me this far. I recognize I'm living in overtime now thanks again to the era in which we live I am alive. I appreciated your words about the massive universe we live in and how, so far, were it in terms of life. I think about death a lot these days but I also think about life. Appreciate you.

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This Sunday was so hard. Writing Willy’s name in the book of the dead was like I was in the book, too. The Sunday before, was his birthday, the first since his death. It’s been a gloomy week. Thanks for reminding me of the hope.

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Oh my. All I could think about is my childhood best friend, Kelly. We were best friends from 1st grade to 12th grade. She married, had nine children (she was a good Mormon) and died last month. Her obituary said she died of a broken heart. After some internet sleuthing I found her husband had sexually assaulted two of her children. He will be on trial in January. My heart broke even more for her after reading this. My friend is gone and I'm mourning. I feel like my childhood itself was assaulted by what he did to her girls. Our happy friendship story had ended in tragedy because of someone I never met. I'm sure the parents of the thousands of children (and adults) caught up in this tragedy are feeling this similarly...more poignantly and fiercely. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

May their memories be a blessing.

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