A wistful week

Cogitation 28 Friday 13 July 2018   Sadness and grief attends the week; my brother, Brian, died on Monday afternoon.

Brian fought valiantly in his battle with cancer. His spouse Vivian and their children and grandchildren, extended family, friends, church, and medical teams stood close by Brian in the fight.

My sadness and grief are tied up, in the words of a cleric, “in the quiet trust that we are held in the hands of a love that is both extraordinary and inexhaustible.” I look forward to the gathering together this weekend for a worship service and fellowship in memory of Brian.


The color yellow and other compositions

I’ve selected photos from this week that reflect a variety of nature’s life forms–beauty, fragility, provisioning, perplexity, worth, and wonder all rolled up into one.


Where the wild ones gather


Beauty in thistle, rose and hydrangea 



Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Catch of the day.
All in one big gulp.
Washing it down.


Remembering Brian Bender

I’ve dipped into Thomas Merton’s Seeds of Contemplation. In chapter 11, on Faith, he writes, “. . . ultimately faith is the only key to the universe. The final meaning of human existence, and the answers to questions on which all our happiness depends cannot be found in any other way.”

Faith “perfects the mind, it does not destroy it . . . faith is the way to a vital contact with a God Who is alive. . . .”

I’m reassured by God’s living presence, by God’s reign over the universe as a reality now with it’s fullness yet to come. Brian McLaren wrote that the church is “a community that lives to see God’s dream come true for the world.”

Brian Bender was such a citizen and servant of the kingdom of God; he carried out personal and corporate responsibility, both spiritual and practical, in his own faithful way. Long live his legacy.

I see Brian reflected in these concluding lines from a prayer attributed to St Francis.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to  understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”


Resilience and HOPE 

Resilience is marked  by a shadow. Resilience makes a flower grow in a sidewalk groove. Resilience makes a lamppost flower-cluster light up the day. Resilience makes a bird keep song.

HOPE, in times of bereavement, as spoken by the Venerable Bede (c.673-735), is this: “Christ is the morning star who when the darkness of the world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life and opens everlasting day.”


Friday morning, the robin sings


5 thoughts on “A wistful week

  1. Dear John,
    I am so sorry to hear of your brother’s death. I, of course, never knew him, but I knew you and your capacity for love and loyalty. It is so very hard to find solace when the ones we love are lost. In my ongoing remembrance of those who have passed from my own life I have found some comfort in the realization that the hurt we feel at final separation is the gold standard by which we can know the high value of what we have lost. May you too find comfort.
    Love and Blessings,
    Harold Neufeld


    1. Thanks Harold. We move on with the eyes of those who have gone before. Music, too, helps set the gold standard. Best!


  2. We’re so sorry, John, to hear of your brother Brian’s death — a deep loss for all of you. May you indeed be “held in the hands of a love that is both extraordinary and inexhaustible.”


  3. Dear John and Marty,
    Our hearts and prayers are with you this weekend as you gather together in Brian’s honor. We are very sorry for the loss of your dear brother. Your deep faith in our Lord is your stronghold.
    Peace and caring,
    Ginger and Monty


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