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Sometimes, I feel that I have attended far too many funerals in my life.

The hardest are those of young people, particularly those who sat in my classroom at one time. Heart wrenching are the goodbyes to those who decided they didn’t want to go on any longer. I have cried until I thought tears could no longer come – and yet, tears continued.

At these times, I have been so blessed to be a part of Christian community. When the loss is so great, I can rest in the arms of a loving God. Sometimes, that is all I can do in my grief. Breathe in God’s love, let the tears fall, and breathe in love again.

On Friday, May 25th, I attended the memorial service for Peter Borgdorff, the former Executive Director of the CRCNA. As I waited for the service to begin, I noticed the cover design of the program, drawn by one of his granddaughters. A number of years ago, Peter’s son passed away and he clung to God’s mercies to be new every morning. In his deep grief, he told his family and himself that “The birds will sing in the morning.” On the back of the program, another granddaughter wrote this poem:

                     you say what is brave, not what is easy. 
                     this is what justice asks of us.
                     this is how the kingdom comes.
                     you taught me that we don’t owe it to the majority to be 
                     apologetic about issues that disadvantage the outnumbered.
                     my sweet papa, im so proud to be a borgdorff
                     because i am proud to be a part of you.
                     we’re crying together now, but crying together,
                     and that’s the most hopeful way we know how.
                     im so glad your son was in heaven to welcome you home.
                     and just like you told me when we lost him,
                     the birds will sing in the morning.

As we journey together, through the delightful times of celebration and joy as well as the difficult paths of grief and injustice, let us remember Peter’s words to his friends and his family, based in his unshaken faith, “Remember, no circumstance can ever remove God from the throne; even after the darkest night, the birds will sing in the morning.”

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