Another very difficult funeral today. I officiated at the young woman's wedding not so long ago; there was so much joy on that day, so much promise.
I do believe in the resurrection of the dead, so there was promise today also. But I'll be the fist to admit that absent the joy, it was much harder to see.
It might surprise some to know that that there are moments when, in fact, I can't quite see those promises at all. But that shouldn't be a surprise. My faith, like the faith of everyone else, fluctuates. Jaroslav Pelikan, a professor of history at Yale University for over four decades and a past president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, said this about the life of faith:
... There are ups and downs and hot spots and cold spots, and boredom and ennui and all the rest can be there. And so I'm not asked on a Sunday morning, "As of 9:20, what do you believe?" And then you sit down with a three-by-five index card saying, "Now let's see. What do I believe today?" No, that's not what they're asking me. They're asking me, "Are you a member of a community which now, for a millennium and a half, has said, 'We believe in one God'?"...
Yes, I am. Some days it is only that community that gets me through, that hangs on for me when my own fingers have grown weary and lost their grip. Other days, like today, it is my privilege to return the favor, knowing that it is only together that any of us make it through.