Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reflections on a Meaningful Life: Funeral Homily for Xavi Kiemde

Xavier Jean Kiemde, September 13, 2012
Written and delivered by Patty Stromen, Church of the Ascension, Minneapolis, MN

There are many ways that we describe what a meaningful life is. 

Some people say it is the length of life, some people say it is the possessions that we own, some people say it is the relationships that we form.

As Christians we have a very clear definition for a meaningful life, we believe our vocation, what gives greatest meaning to life, what we are born for, is to embrace God’s love and reflect it back to the world. That reflection of God’s love is at the heart of a meaningful life. To quote Fr. Greg Tolaas, “Let love meet love.”

Baby Xavier, baby Xavi,  during his life in the womb, and his brief time outside his mother’s womb, lived the most meaningful life any of us could ever hope for.  He experienced God’s love perfectly, and he reflected God’s love to each of us.

In the first reading from Isaiah, we are given an image of God never forgetting us, writing each of our names on the palms of God’s hand. 

We might hear this and think, could this really be true?  Could God really love me that deeply? God’s abiding love as described by Isaiah is more deeply embedded in each of us by witnessing Melissa and Francois’s love for  Xavi. 

From the moment he was conceived, when he was a twinkle in God’s eyes, he was loved deeply by Melissa and Francois.  When faced with impossible decisions, they chose to mirror God’s love for each of us, in their decision to honor, receive, and embrace Xavi’s life, however his life came to them.  Melissa and Francois celebrated the perfect conditions of love and warmth inside Melissa’s womb and parented Xavi before he was ever placed in their arms.

Could there be a clearer or deeper image of God’s love for each of us?

Lest we romanticize God’s love for us and our love for God, and lest we romanticize the challenges that you faced Melissa and Francois,  we are given the Gospel reading from Matthew that Fr. Michael just proclaimed.

I have to believe it isn’t by chance that we hear, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike”, and yet only two verses further, 

Even with the pure and simple faith of a child, believing that our ever-loving God, along with all the angels and saints are welcoming Xavi home to heaven with a huge party, and hopefully each of us some day, we know it is almost impossible to say good-bye to this beautiful little boy.
So how do we do this?  

We place our good-bye to Xavi’s body in the midst of our belief that his spirit is soaring in God’s hands. We do it by believing, as the poem that Francois and Fabio read says, (which by the way is a poem that was memorized by Francois when he was a young boy in school): 
“Those who have died have never left, they are in the shades that become clearer, they are in the water that runs."
Xavi is in our hearts forever.

Xavi has led the most meaningful life any of us could ever hope for – he has, and will continue, to live perfectly in God’s love, and to reflect God’s love back to us.  

In thanksgiving for this most precious gift you have given us God, we give the precious gift of this beautiful baby boy back to you.  We trust you continue to love him and cradle him in your arms.

May we trust that you cradle us in your arms in the joys and the and the sorrows that today brings.

Like a little child, in his father’s arms, my soul will rest in you,
My soul will rest in you.
Like a little child, in his mother’s arms, my soul will rest in you,
My soul will rest in you.