I found this idea of “Dormitory of the Faithful Departed” interesting on a new-to-me blog, Northern Crossings. Pastor Seter has several other posts that are worth viewing, including a soapstone sculpture and his visiting the soapstone factory in Kenya with Pastor Harrison and others back in 2003.
It is going to be a long day today. I have a funeral this morning and a wedding this evening. I have to admit that most of the time I appreciate the funerals more than the weddings. Funeral goers have a more receptive mind than wedding attenders. Something about death focuses the mind wonderfully.
This blog site is about our connections up here in the North country. Another of the connections we have is the acquaintances of Pastors and teachers. I had a gentlemen come and preach for me many years ago from Ada, Minnesota by the name of Dean Bell. He was particularly impressed with the services at the Developmental Center. Later he became a Pastor and serves Fosston and another congregation I believe in Hendrum Minnesota. We have had some adventures together. I remember vividly a discussion that he and I had in Boston as we discussed funerals. Dean called the graveyard the “dormitory of the faithful departed”. I like that and have searched for that quote long and hard. The closest I have come is a statement that the graveyard was considered in the early church the “dormitory of the dead and the bosum of the church”, it is a “sweet station, for there the bones of the departed rest sweetly and await the advent of their Savior”. This comes from a book called Blessing the world: ritual and lay piety in medieval religion.
The book is a delightful read that is really about the little blessings of life, the benedictions that come to us sometimes unexpectedly but in the early days became integral to how one lived from day to day. Funerals for me are like that. They are a chance to think of the little benedictions that come to us every day through the lives of the saints that we are priveleged to serve and work among. A funeral that focuses on Christ and His doing and dying is also a final benediction for the dead and a formal benediction for the living.
Rev. Bell’s erudition and humor are among those little benedictions that come to us in life.. I hope he sees this blog and if this book by Derek Rivard is where he found the quote, thank you for inspiring a good read. If not please share your discovery with us all.