A prayer and benediction for Robin, child of God, and for us all…

CarpeDiemWe are saddened and rendered fearful by the loss of one with so much energy. We watch the news that tens of thousands — hundreds of thousands — have died and hardly register the loss. But, then, someone who has lived so publicly, so fearlessly, so vulnerably, and joyfully dies and the dimensions of human loss are crystalized, brought to bear on a single life, a single loss, an individual tragedy. In response, we rehearse his gifts. We scour his life for an explanation. The most fearful among us look for lurid details to distract themselves from their own mortality. And, in our fear, we are tempted to lay blame and find fault. We lay on the back of that individual life, the blame and explanation for all that haunts us, all that we long to hold at arm’s length and drive his memory into the past. Let us refuse to go into that dark and shallow place where one man’s glorious and imperfect struggle is forced to carry in irretrievable silence all that we long to deny haunts our own lives. Instead, let us draw close to God and to one another, persuaded that in all of our frailty and struggle, we are held — held across time and space, trials and tragedy, success and failure, victory and defeat, sickness and health, life and death.

Having been reminded of how fragile our existence really is, let us use the moments, the breath, the words, and affection available to us in drawing closer to one another and the God who loves us. And having watched him create and lose, triumph and fail, laugh and cry, live and die….let us seize the day. And may the God of love and Resurrection, the God of mercy and compassion, keep us all, evermore. Amen.

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an Episcopal priest), live in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and five grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, Sophie, and Drew, with a sixth on the way.