God’s Vision: Rejoice in It

Service of Worship (Tuesday, July 2, 2013)


When I was a child I remember my grandmother saying she didn’t want a funeral, she wanted a farewell party.  That thought has always stayed with me, the thought that a sendoff could be a celebration.  But I did not understand.

As I grew older and began to process the idea of death, I can remember the moment it struck me…you know that moment when I finally understood that though Abuelo had passed and I was sad, he was no longer in pain.  Years later at the commencement of my adult love story with God, I began to see a funeral as a mourning by others of the loss of a loved one but FOR ME, in a personal way I began to also see it as a joyful send off for those who are in pain and especially for those who have accepted God into their lives.

One day as I watched a NCIA, I saw a funeral that invoked both of those things…sadness, joy, death, life, continuation and a goodbye:

It took some time, but I was able to track down some information on what a Jazz Funeral is, according to wikipedia

a typical jazz funeral begins with a march by the family, friends, and a brass band from the home, funeral home or church to the cemetery. Throughout the march, the band plays somber dirges and hymns.[4] A change in the tenor of the ceremony takes place, after either the deceased is buried, or the hearse leaves the procession and members of the procession say their final goodbye and they “cut the body loose”.

After this the music becomes more upbeat, often starting with a hymn or spiritual number played in a swinging fashion, then going into popular hot tunes. There is raucous music and cathartic dancing where onlookers join in to celebrate the life of the deceased. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the second line, and their style of dancing, in which they walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called second lining.[5]

Some typical pieces often played at jazz funerals are the slow, and sober song “Nearer My God to Thee” and such spirituals as “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” The later the more upbeat tunes frequently include “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Didn’t He Ramble”

General Synod #29 in Long Beach, CA during the Summer of 2013, ended in a Jazz Funeral.  We the body of the church bid farewell to the old way of doing business, some where sorrowful, others relieved, but still we bid adieu.  After we  buried the deceased we gathered ourselves, collected our thoughts, said our goodbyes, and danced a joyful dance of gratitude that life for us continues, that we had been born again and made new.

Cambiaste mi lamento en baile…Gracia mi Dios!

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