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First Things, March 2014

March 2, 2014

First Church has experienced two deaths in the last few months that will profoundly change our experience of the church.

Jim Schmeltzer died at the end of November. Myra Barnes died at the end of January. Both Myra and Jim had been to church several times during the last year. Their faces, and voices, and spirits, were an expected and welcome part of our church life.

And now they are gone.

The sense of being part of “something larger than yourself” is the basic quality of spirituality. Whatever else that may be for you (God, or humanity, for instance) the church itself is something larger than yourself. We are church “members” the way arms and legs are “members” of a body, but the body itself is something larger than any of its members.

First Church goes on without Myra or Jim and without any of the thousands of others who have been members here over the years and are gone now.

It may seem an insult to the dead that the church keeps going on instead of falling apart when a beloved member dies. But I see it just the opposite. Knowing that while we are alive we are members of an organization that is larger than we are, and knowing that the church will go on without us, grants each of us who are members of the church a kind of immortality. Though dead, our lives continue, in the building of the church, in the work of the church, and in the lives of the new generations of church members who will come after us.

Rest in Peace.

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