You know how sometimes certain things happen, over and over again, and it seems to be more than just coincidence? Like sometimes a favorite song comes on and reminds you to call someone that needs some extra love. Or you see a loved one’s favorite bird at your bird feeder. Or you have a dream that feels so real. Or you read a book and are transported to another place and time.
Or perhaps, like me, you listen to a podcast that touches on death, loss, and the communion of saints AND you take the time to go through a collection of coins that your dad gave you. Your dad who died a number of years ago. Your dad who is a part of the great communion of saints.
When I listened to the podcast in the morning I didn’t anticipate going through coins that my dad gave me throughout his life. But as soon as I took the coins out I felt connected to my dad. I felt his presence. I remembered all the times he gifted me with coins. And all the times I quickly smiled and laughed at his gift. I remembered anticipating the gift of coins every year and teasing him about it. I remember his commitment to always give me coins and his love for them. A love he wanted to share with me.
Thanks to the voices of others on a podcast and tangible items such as coins, I was reminded that I’m not alone. That my dad isn’t far from me. That this earth and this life is only just the beginning. That the losses we experience aren’t the end.
Too often we hear about death and loss. There’s always someone mourning. There’s always someone questioning God. There are always questions about why we live in a world where death takes those we love. There’s always living our days with the ache of grief. There’s always memories and regrets. There’s always trusting that this life is not the end.
But there’s also this precious life we live. There’s also this life of joy and hope. There’s this life of rainbows and sunshine. There’s this life of communion bread and wine. There’s this life of community. There’s this life of shoulders to cry on and handwritten notes. There’s this life of babies and children’s giggles.
And if we believe in the communion of saints we have this promise that the losses we experience are met most deeply in the joy and hope of our lives. In our day to day living and breathing and serving. I can trust that my dad and all the others who have gone before me are still with me. That they walk with me. That they join me in community today. That their presence makes a difference still. I like to believe that all the family members who were no longer living when my children were born knew them even before I did.
Some days I believe more deeply in this communion of saints and somedays I need the reminders from others. Somedays I need the faith of others to point me towards the love found in God. And some days I am that voice of hope for others. Yet, the communion of saints is real. And true and present. They guide us and love us from afar.
Can you feel it?
We are never alone.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/