John McCain, Good Bye

A long time ago, when I was in the midst of my training to become a hospital chaplain, I was called to be with a family that had decided to remove life support from their too-young daughter/sister/wife. The woman was in her late thirties, and when I arrived, her husband said to me, "We want you to help us give her back to God." I spent time with this family and listened as they told me about their beloved. We prayed together in thanksgiving for her life and for what she had meant to each of them. We asked God to comfort the family. We asked God to open his arms and welcome his daughter into his presence. We gave her back to God.

I thought that was a beautiful concept. We often hear the words "going home" used at the time of death for African-Americans. "Going home." "Give back to God."

For many years, I served my home church as an assisting minister. This often involved participating in funerals, either reading lessons or prayers. At the end of each service, the pastor and I would go to the pall-draped casket, put our hands on the top and read the commendation. I came to think of this as giving him or her back to God.

Today I was able to watch most of John McCain's funeral. It was a moving tribute to an extraordinary  man. I loved the eulogies, the music, and the pageantry of the National Cathedral. And at the very end, when it was time for the commendation, I watched with tears in my eyes as the Bishop and the Canon and the pastor put their hands on the casket and gave him back to God.


Robby said…
What a touching phrase, and so meaningful. I've not heard it before, but I shall remember it. Thank you for sharing today.
Quiltdivajulie said…
Oh my dear Nancy - you have touched my heart yet again. Such a meaningful post on so very many levels. Thank you.
Lori said…
It was amazing. He really was a true patriot.
Barbara Anne said…
What a sweet and appropriate sentiment that is and I'd never heard it before. Thank you for writing about it as well as the lovely tribute to a remarkable man.
Nann said…
Yes. Thanks for this post, Nancy.
It WAS moving. I often worry about our political division in play now. This morning Joe Biden commented before the parade about his relationship with Senator McCain. He said they both had the same values from a different perspective. I will never forget what he said because I felt that way some time ago about politics. Sometime before Ken Star.

Great post.
xx, Carol
Pamela Kieffer said…
Thank you Nancy for these loving memories