Though I have to say goodbye
Don’t let it make you cry
For ever if I’m far away
I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you
Each night we are apart
Though I have to travel far
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you
The only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again
written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez from the movie Coco
by Rev. Javier Olivares, West District Superintendent
November 1 is a celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I remember as a kid growing up in Mexico that my relatives used to go to the cemetery and visit their loved ones. They would bring food and beverages for the deceased person. I would love this festivity since the streets were full of vendors selling candies, pan de muerto (a special bread), and all sorts of items for this special day.
When I was older and growing up in a protestant church all these practices of Dia de Muertos were considered demonic and sinful. It is really sad that beliefs brought by foreigners affected many ancient traditions. There is much richness in my Hispanic heritage regarding death. Some of the indigenous believed the soul of young mothers who died would transform into a hummingbird. There’s this whole belief of honoring those who are dead in a special way that keeps you connected to them. In some cultures, death is not something to talk about, you can only whisper it. You only address it during funerals or memorials.
One of my favorite movies is Coco, I still cry every time I watch it. The song the movie is known for is “Remember Me.” As a father goes out on a long journey, he writes this song for his daughter, not knowing that he will not return alive. This powerful song is about giving a young girl the hope she can find in the memory of her father.
I believe death is connected with how we want to be remembered.
In a culture of the “Walking Dead” and Zombies, we are called to remember our own saints. Their memories live on in our lives. Our lives our impacted by their way of living.
Todd and Jennifer Pick, two of my classmates from Drew Theological school wrote: “saints are not just those faces you see in stained glass windows. They are the faces of friends, mothers, sons, spouses, children, sisters…you are counted among the communion of saints. You are part of that great cloud of witnesses who surround others with your faith and hope and love. So flap your butterfly wings of love vigorously, for who knows what the consequences of our small, daily actions will be actions across the world?”
Dear saint of God, flap your wings and change the world.