Kris died on Friday. She was forty-five, too young and too beloved, if only human love were enough to fend off death. She died the same day that twenty children died at the hands of a deranged young man in Connecticut. Those deaths ushered in a weekend in which another friend's mother slipped away after long suffering, and yet another friend received the news of her toddler daughter's cancer.
If only human love were enough to fend off death. If only we could rip it from us with our bare hands. It doesn't belong to us, and we don't belong to it, yet it brackets our consciousness, the one thing we're never -- as adults, anyway -- not aware of, the sentence at the end of the period we call our life. If only it were as easy to come to grips with as that sentence was to write. Yeah, if only. As if.
Tonight our parish held what I hope will be our first annual Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols, with potluck after. This morning at Mass I was the one who delivered the final reminder/announcement, and I did it (I think) winsomely and sparklingly, with a lot of emphasis on the fun of a winter potluck, so that the friend who sits next to me in choir remarked later that she had forgotten how funny I am. It wasn't until I was actually singing the music in the half-light, with the rainy dark outside, that the full force of it struck me: This is what we need to be doing. Not just singing in the face of death, but singing our longing for the one who knocks death on its face.
Yea, amen, let all adore thee,
High on thine eternal throne.
Savior, take the power and glory.
Claim the Kingdom for thine own.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia,
Thou shalt reign and thou alone.
And not a moment too soon, say I today.