A Pastoral Message for the Celebration of Life of Scott Dixon
Commonweal Theatre, December 8, 2018
by Pastor Laura E. Gentry
|Scott Dixon, actor/writer|
Read Post-Bulletin article here.
Dearly beloved we have gathered together today to get through this thing called Life…okay, that’s Prince’s line but I don’t think Scott would mind me quoting 80s music.
Still…the question remains: How do we get through this thing called Life?
Today, as we pay tribute to Scott’s life, we marvel. His life was immensely full, as we’ve heard from everyone who’s spoken today. He was zealously committed to his passion for telling stories before an audience. He believed what Charlie Chaplin said: “Movies are a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.” And here on this very stage, Scott brought people his very best.
But even though we’ve worked really hard to create this celebration of his life, it cannot possibly express all of who Scott was and how is art touched people’s lives.
Who was Scott? What was most important to him? How did he get through this thing called Life? In “Let’s Go Crazy” Prince sings: “If you don’t like the world you’re living in take a look around you at least you got friends.” And, of course, Kermit the Frog always says: “With good friends you can’t lose.” Even with all his artistic accomplishments, Scott realized that there’s something more crucial than that and it is love. That’s the art he excelled at the most: love. Scott loved his family and his friends. He loved you.
That’s why it’s so painful now as the truth sinks in: Scott’s life here with us on earth is through. Our lives will never be the same. What are we to do?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote:
“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
They say that funerals are for the living. Scott is God’s beloved and he is now with God. He has shifted to the light. That’s why he didn’t even consider his death to be a defeat. He came to the spiritually profound place of free fall, allowing himself to float into his Creator’s embrace, as we heard in the song at the beginning of this service: “knowing no effort earns that all-sustaining grace.”
And I want to remind you that there is grace for you, too. As you mourn the loss of Scott, you are not alone. The deeper your grief, the closer is God.
In the biblical book of 2 Corinthians, God promises: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is a paradox that our weakness actually makes us strong. But it does. It is in these broken moments that we finally realize we’re not in control of our lives. We need help. We become desperate enough to allow God to come to us and begin to heal us. It is my prayer that you will find such healing—however you name it—because there is abundant grace for you.
The great rocker Patti Smith says: “Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.” In a world without Scott, you will suffer. I’m sure he wishes it were not so and but grief is the price we pay for love. The road ahead won’t be easy. You will bust into tears at inconvenient times. Little things will trigger you. You will grieve and you will each grieve differently. It may cause you to hurt one another’s feelings even though you don’t mean to. So let me remind you to be particularly gentle and patient to one another.
And yet, as you heal, you can extend your hand and help others who are also suffering loss. You can weep with those who weep. You can be a source of comfort. You can shine light into the dark places. And in this way, Scott’s legacy will continue to broaden and be a positive one.
Ultimately, with God’s help and the compassion of your fellow humans, the vision is for you to come to a place of peace.
The painter Renior so eloquently stated:
“The pain passes but the beauty remains.”
You know that the beauty of Scott’s life and his impact upon yours was beyond description.
Right now, you feel the sting of loss but at length, the pain will subside and what remains is the beauty. Hold on to that beauty, my friends. What Scott has given each of you is yours forever. Death ends a life but not a relationship.
The famous philosopher Winnie the Pooh said: “If there ever comes a day where we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.”
Yes, Scott will be in your heart forever. But I think he would also want me to point out that “You gotta fight for your right to party!” Tears are necessary but don’t forget that this day is a day of celebration for the amazing life Scott lived.