Category Archives: Homiletics

When A Great Tree Falls

Maya Angelou’s beautiful poem, When Great Trees Fall, historic Oakwood Cemetery in Troy New York, and the setting of the Gardener Earl Memorial Chapel, inspired this homily delivered at a memorial service for a woman, Patricia Louise D., who died after … Continue reading

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Conversion 101 – A Reflection

On reflection, one of our most distinctive traits as human beings, although created in likeness of the Creator God, is our freedom to choose to approximate the Divine or to take an alternate route, distancing ourselves from a forgiving God, … Continue reading

Posted in Conversion, Homiletics, Liturgical preaching, Metanoia, Newcomer Funeral Services Group, Repentance, Smalbany | Leave a comment

Careful Simplicity: A Legacy of Compassionate Love

The Simplicity of Indra’s Web Morning Dewdrops on a Spider’s Web I was out of town, on the last day of a week-long conference, continuing professional education conference in thanatology, when I received a telephone call from a funeral director … Continue reading

Posted in Funeralization, Homiletics | Leave a comment

EdOp: A Life Should Be Celebrated

Very frequently we have to re-educate our colleagues in the funeral services profession that every family, every loved one who has died, deserves some form of spirituality in their final farewells. I’ve commented on that aspect of my chaplaincy ministry … Continue reading

Posted in Arrangements, Bereavement, Celebrate Life, Celebration of Life, Compassion, Conversion, Cremation Service, Culture, Death, Ear of the Heart, Empathy, Family Interview, Fulfilled in Your Hearing, Funeral Homily, Funeral Service, Grief, Holy Scripture, Homiletics, Hope, Interfaith, Interfaith Chaplain, Lectio divina, Listening, Memorial Service, Metanoia, Preaching the Mystery of Faith, Sensitivity, Sermon, Spirtuality, Tradition | Leave a comment

Culture and Tradition: What unites a family.

The Homilist Cannot Ignore Culture and Tradition When serving a large Italian family: four generations, 8 children, 17 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, and a chapel filled to overflowing, we become acutely aware that something really big is afoot, and it’s called tradition. … Continue reading

Posted in Bereavement, Committal, Culture, Death, Family Interview, Funeral Service, Grief, Holy Scripture, Homiletics, Italian, Matriarch, Poem, Poetry, Psalm 23, Safely Home, Shepherd, St Francis of Assisi, Sunflower, The Lord is my Shepherd, Theology, Tradition | Leave a comment

A Murder Victim: Giving Meaning to the Senseless

An expected death, when it finally happens, is traumatic. Sudden death by accident is even more traumatic because it tears one out of the bounds of normal, it deletes any notion of security or control; it’s a rude awakening to … Continue reading

Posted in Bereavement, Blended Family, Cremation Service, Funeral Service, Grief, Holy Scripture, Homiletics, Islam, Memorial Service, Murder, Quran | Leave a comment

EdOp: On the homilist’s listening skills.

Many of our readers are pastoral or spiritual care providers, and only some actually have the opportunity to teach or to preach in a formal way, that is, by way of sermons or homilies. Share the Link to Our New … Continue reading

Posted in Bereavement, Death, Family Interview, Funeral Service, Grief, Holy Scripture, Homiletics, Initial Interview, Lectio continua, Lectio divina, Listen with your heart, Listening, Memorial Service | Leave a comment

Of Quilts and Love

A common thread that runs through my homilies is the importance of bringing the assembly’s spirituality and core beliefs, their values, their shared experiences into a palpable and livable relation with Holy Scripture. By doing this, I believe I go … Continue reading

Posted in 2 Corinthians, Bereavement, Death, Funeral Service, Grief, Holy Scripture, Homiletics, Longevity, Memorial Service, Psalm 90, Quilt, St Paul | Leave a comment

Suicide. Will God Forget Him?

Suicide. W. takes his own life. Where do we go with this. How do we approach such a traumatic death? How do we approach the family’s confusion, anger, despair? I am fortunate that I have made suicide a subject of … Continue reading

Posted in Bereavement, Cremation Service, Death, Funeral Service, Grief, Homiletics, Memorial Service, Stigma, Suicide, Traumatic Death | Leave a comment

Of Matriarchs and Elephant Love

It’s a beautiful moment when a family grants one access to the inner sanctum of the deceased’s world, a world shared intimately with special family members, and now shared with me in remembrance. It’s these initial interviews that give a … Continue reading

Posted in Bereavement, Elephant Love, Elephants, Family Interview, Homiletics, Initial Interview, Matriarch, Memorial Service | Leave a comment