In bread we bring you Lord, our body's labour
In wine we offer you our spirit's grief.
We do not ask you, Lord, who is my neighbor?
But stand united now, in one belief.
For we have gladly heard your Word, your holy Word
And now in answer, Lord, our gifts we bring.
Our selfish hearts make true, our failing faith renew,
Our lives belongs to you, our Lord and King.
The bread we offer you is blessed and broken,
And it becomes for us our spirit's food.
Over the cup we bring, your Word is spoken;
Make it your gift to us, your healing blood.
Take all that daily toil, plant in our heart's poor soil,
Take all we start and spoil, each hopeful dream.
The chances we have missed, the graces we resist,
Lord, in thy Eucharist, take and redeem.
'In Bread We Bring You Lord' by Kevin Nichols
So I've been invited to a wedding this Saturday. One of the very few I've been personally invited to, albeit only after finding out and congratulating the bride! Apparently many invites these days go through Facebook, and since I'm not there I effectively don't exist. Such is our world today.
But I've told a few people lately how, over the years, I've been invited to far more birthday parties and funerals than weddings. This December, I thought I might be able to chalk some points up on the wedding side, but then the first funeral came—it just had to—and now, the second. God must have a morbid sense of humour.
We sang that hymn above at the first funeral, and I was very moved by it.
As I was thinking about the funeral, I told V on Monday (after I'd been invited to it) that in funerals, we are stripped of our pretensions. We can, and must, be honest. No one talks about clothes or dresses ("Wah, you look so pretty!"); there's a lot less silly small talk; estranged ex-spouses reappear; we are forced to take a long, hard look at ourselves; and families are reunited, albeit against their will.
I, for one, owe my extended family's reunion to my grandmother's death five years ago. Sometimes it takes death to teach us to live.