In the Anglican tradition, funerals are celebrated with the “alleluias” of Easter. “The strife is o’er, the battle done.” Yet, there is recognition that letting go of life is a form of war. We have grown so accustomed to the things of the earth, that only death can pry them from our clinging hands.My friend Joan died Tuesday morning. She had been in ill-health for many years. Yet she took comfort in the things of the earth, most particularly in her family, her ministry to those who needed to hear words of comfort, and her memories of bright days. Joan sang in the choir and lamented the illness that diminished her voice, yet she reveled in the combining of song and prayer, twined together over centuries and through the voices of millions and millions who, though  they cannot see God in their earthly forms, seek to approach heaven through plainsong or psalms, through Mozart’s Ave Verum or Tallis’s Spem in Allium, through “The Old Rugged Cross” or “Morning has Broken.” Letting go is  hard. But perhaps the sound of glory will welcome Joan.

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