Monday, March 12, 2012

A Celebration of Jud's Life

We held Jud's Celebration of Life at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis on March 4, 2012 at 7 p.m. It was a beautiful service. The sanctuary was lit by candles, lending a soft, gentle feeling as we moved into the night.

A Lakota Flutist began the ceremony played improvisations of Jud's favorite hymms. Jud was involved with the Native American from the time I met him.

Two very talented sopranos sang Pie Jesu (Andrew Lloyd Weber) and The Lord is My Shepherd (Brother Jame's Aire). The congregation sang "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" and "For the Beauty of the Earth," the traditional version.

Psalm 139 was the selected Bible verse.

"Oh God, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up."...
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence."

Echoed on the front of the bulletin were words that became a sort of "mantra" to Jud and me.
"We cannot go where God is not."
Sometimes spoken, when I when through a period of struggle...
"We cannot go where Love is not."

Seven friends from different areas of Jud's life gave short talks about him, which made us both laugh and cry.  Our friend, Laura, read the Mary Oliver poem, The Summer's Day, which ends with the challenge, "Tell me, what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?" Another friend read a Gaelic Blessing which goes...

Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the gentle night to you

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Moon and stars throw their healing light on you.

Deep peace of Christ
Of Christ
The light of the world to you.

Deep peace of Christ to you.

Deep peace to you. 

Our minister gave a lovely homily and talked of his lack of anger or lament about dying. She felt he was truly at peace. She spoke of the many hours the three of us sat and talked, cuddled up with Sophie and Harvey on our green couch. Those hours were truly special and gave us time to discuss so many important concerns together.

At the end of the service, each family member chose a candle to add to a table in front of the altar, The table was draped with a star quilt, given to us by one of Jud's Native American patients when Kat was born. We had large shot of Jud as a baby on the left side.

 Kat and I were standing on the other side after we lit our candles. There was a large current picture of Jud on this side. Kat (bless her heart) put her arm around me.

Cath, our minister, who has been so present for Jud and me during his illness, lit the candle of the deacons who in turn...

...lit the candles of the first person in each line. They passed the candlelight down and we saw...

...a splendid sea of candlelight, the light of Christ and of all our family and friends. As the candles were lit, the soloist sang the same song, Deep Peace, that our friend, Brooks, had read. The service ended with a resounding, "For the Beauty of the Earth" by John Rutter. Jud wanted the song presented "both ways."

We ended in Guild Hall of our church, where we greeted and thanked many family, friends and  colleagues who had supported us so in so many ways this year. They held us up with food for our bodies and our soul. We are all so grateful.