Pastoral Post 10.30.2020 | Jane Johnson Young "Death?"

This Sunday, we will read 28 names of those brothers and sisters we have lost in 2020 as we commemorate All Saints’ Day.  This is a day of emotional variety.  Sorrow for the loss we feel.  Joy in the hope we hold.  Courage, inspired by these 28 whose “hearts were brave, whose arms were strong.”


One of those names we will hear is Jane Young.  Jane passed away this year.  And yet, though she is not here, neither is she gone.  That much I know.  I invite you, as you prepare for this hallowed weekend, to hear the voice of Jane Young, one of the saints who ministered to the world, to FUMC, and to me.  I am grateful to her husband Garland for allowing me to share this with you. - Scott Taylor



by Jane Johnson Young, 1937-2020


Will a part of me survive death of the body? A part of me has never been successfully caged by the physical, so why would it submit to such restraints on the brink of my grave?


I am perfectly capable of walking the sands of a warm beach while my body is, say, playing the piano. I know the joy of returning, not bound by either time or space, to some cherished experience while all can clearly see that I'm snuggled in a chair reading a book. While I sleep, my dreams present adventures seemingly as real as those of daytime hours. Much of life has not been explained to me in terms of that which can be touched, examined, buried in a casket or scattered from an urn.


The wonder of life itself is, to me, evidence of a spiritual reality. The body receives pain and beauty poured into it in full measure, but what can explain a response of genuine insight?  Of courage? Of sacrificial love? Some say they are byproducts of genetics and experience. 



For me, another evidence of a spirit not totally dependent on the body is my occasional feeling of surprise when I look in the mirror. I recently thought, "Good grief! This old bundle of flesh needs a good body shop!" Wrinkles, sags, and bags are natural scars of time, but the part of me peering at them feels totally untouched by the deterioration. Looking at my mirror image draws a response similar to the one I felt when I first viewed my dad's body after his death. "That is NOT all there is!"


Occasional momentary doubts about life after death have been sparked by experiences with persons who were, strictly speaking, still alive but incapable of indicating any real awareness. Is it not possible, however, that their condition, as well as that of the deceased, can be compared to the relationship of a burned out light bulb to electricity itself?


When the part of me that has been visible to you is rendered nonfunctional, please remember that I discovered the small print that read, "This bulb will eventually burn out, but that will in no way diminish its power source, nor even halt the dance of energy that you have known as Jane."

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