Dana's funeral was last Saturday. We went as a family and met others who came as families. We were one in our grief, in our mourning and in our joyous reunion and recognition of Dana's resurrection. We cried. . .and we laughed. It was beautiful. And it was sheepish.
Dana was a very special person and she graciously orchestrated and organized her funeral just as she did her entire life.
She was dedicated to Jesus and she knew she was a sheep and that Jesus is our Shepherd. Her license plate and her email were Mysheeep (hear the bleat of the sheep there?)
The sheep thing happened while I mentored our EFM (Education For Ministry) group of which Dana was a part. We had laughter. . .we had fun. . .we learned a lot.. .we became sheep.
The readings from Dana's service were as follows:
If you read these, you will find an ever increasing revelation of Jesus the Good Shepherd and we, the people, as the sheep. We are sheep.
Throughout the service up to this point, there were several songs sung, one of which is a particular favorite of mine. . ."For you oh God, my soul in stillness waits. . .Truly my hope is in you." It's a particularly moving Advent song. Love it. It makes me cry.
Crying became a large part of my reaction to the service, up to and including the Gospel reading and even into the Homily. At this point, the service had already gone on for an hour and I was mildly surprised at the patience of my young son. And still he maintained his good behavior! Even though we still had the Homily and the Service of Communion and the Committal to go!! What a good boy he was/is.
The Homily broke down the why's and wherefores of Dana's choices in the readings. It all relates back to the sheep. After touching on the Gospel reading, Pastor Jeunee expanded on it all and explained the roots of our sheepishness. And here it is, per Jeunee in a not so exact translation:
In late 2003, Stacy was attending Shepherd College in Shepherstown (mild laughter at this, mainly from the clergy in attendance due to all the sheep imagery). She was required to go to a play directed and produced by one of her English Professors and roped some of her EFM group in to go with her. Dana, Dana's husband Rob, Allison and Robin all agreed to go one Saturday night. It was early December and the play was, "The Second Shepherd's Play." (more mild laughter). Stacy organized everyone into going in one car (HEY!! MAMA!! THAT'S YOUR NAME!! my young son said VERY loudly. yes, honey, it is. . .SHE'S TALKING ABOUT YOU!! yes, honey, she is)
snickers abound. . .
When they arrived, they noticed the four piece band at the back of the stage. They were wearing sheep hats. Throughout the play, there would be a barely discernable sound. . .baaaaahhh! After a while, it became clear that it was one of the musicians making the baaaaahhh! sound. By the end of the play, the five were laughing uprouriously waiting for the baaaahhh to happen again!
The congregation was giggling loudly. ..
The five discussed it, laughingly, all the way home afterward. Sheep were bound to become a theme with them.
The next day, at church, Allison and Rob were LEM's and preparing to administer the wine at communion. Allison said to Rob, "Wouldn't it be funny if, when Dana comes to the rail, I say, "The Bloooooood of Christ. . .The cup of Salvation." Rob, horrified, said NO! This is a Sacrament. You must take this seriously! So, when Dana came up, Allison said it as she should, to which Dana replied, "Baaaaahmen!"
The congregation erupted in laughter.
What a special way to have remembered Dana. What a special way to have been given the chance to lighten our hearts.
Thank you Dana for the wonderful memories; for the reminder to remain true to Christ; for the reminder to be His sheep.