Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Befriending Death

Befriending Death is a phrase from Henri Nouwen's "The Greatest Gift." I read it as part of my planning for the church's class on death and dying, to occur the next 5 Wednesday evenings after a prayer service. (Soup at 6:15, prayer at 7:15, class at 8:00).

"The Greatest Gift" came to me from a bookstore owner who told me it's the book his faith community gives people who've recently experienced a death. I can see why. It is a beautiful faith perspective on death and dying. Honest and hopeful.

Much of my planning has been reading such books on death (more hopeful reading than you might think). I've also been watching videos, websites, and conversations with death experts. This class has piqued lots of interest, both within the congregation and outside. Death is everywhere, but it doesn't exactly come up in common conversation. I'm finding that people welcome the opportunity to talk about it. is currently running a series called "What Grief is Really Like" that I recommend. I also recommend the PBS website "On our own terms". It's based on a special that Bill Moyers special on 2000. I'll try to keep the resources updated on here, but if you are in the congregation or the area, please come.

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