As America geared up for a wedding boom in the summer of 2022, I wrote about the obstacles that disrupt weddings and other communal rites of passage in non-covid times.
No matter how stripped down the ceremony, people need to be able to plan travel. The people we love are too scattered for spontaneity. We want to be well knit into the fabric of our church, but too much of our lives lies outside the parish boundaries. It isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, but it makes it feel like we schedule the most sacred sacraments around secular concerns and scheduling. It’s a one-time version of families’ ongoing struggle to make sure Sunday worship isn’t crowded out by their children’s sports programs.
We had more flexibility to choose dates for marriage and baptism, but the service that is hardest to schedule is a funeral. Death comes on its own schedule. Even though a memorial service might wait for a month in order to accommodate all those who need to gather, grief does not wait for the convenient time.