Memorial weekend worship

It was a bright and beautiful Sunday – we started worship with my piano piece, “Remembrance,” and walked together outside while singing loudly and proudly, “America the Beautiful.”  Outside, in a long-standing First Congregational tradition, we gathered in the Memorial Garden, where the names of those among us who have died in the past year were read in prayerful honor.  For me, it was a review of the funerals that I had taken part in over the past year, providing comforting music and helping this unique moment in the life of a family to be a little more about thanksgiving and a little less about mourning.

As each name was read, the lowest bell in the church tower was tolled,  a powerful use of a single musical note.  The sound of the bell, the surrounding birds, the blowing breeze were together a fitting memorial to these people – returned to nature, remembered, honored.