Dancing on the Head of a Pin

There is a legend of St Thomas Aquinas asking "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" At this blog we ask all questions dealing with our faith and spirituality. Some are down to earth, rubber meets the road questions, while others are more lofty...like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Sudden Death?"


"In silk black-and-gold pajamas, velvety black robe and slippers, James Henry Smith is at rest.

His feet are crossed, his pack of cigarettes and a beer by his side. Steelers highlights are playing on a high-definition TV screen nearby. With the TV remote in his hand, leaning back in his recliner, a Steelers blanket across his legs, it's like a game-day Sunday.

Except that it's not.

It was last night at Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home in Lincoln-Lemington, and family and friends were filing in to pay their final respects to Smith, whom they called one of the biggest Steelers fans in the universe."
You may have heard about the "die" hard Steelers fan mentioned above who was positioned as if he were watching Sunday afternoon football game. You may have laughed when you first heard the report, but after a while, it just seems strange. When we die there are certain rituals and traditions many families do to honor the life of the deceased. Some families lay out pictures of the persons life and family members and friends will gather around and remember good times shared by all. Most families will tell stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly, all the while celebrating life. But what is most important when celebrating the life of a deceased person? Is it the fact that we were avid football fans? Or were good cooks? What about our faith? When members in the Episcopal Church die, we celebrate their faith, their inclusion into Christ through baptism, and we celebrate their life eternal. We celebrate that they are "in the arms of God's mercy and into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints of light." We cover the casket or urn with a beautiful white pall, reminiscent of their baptismal garment and we place the pascal candle, the same candle lit during baptisms and during Easter beside them as well. It is important to remember the lives of our deceased loved ones. It is important to remember their interests and what made them happy. But what is more important? Faith. Hope. Love.

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