And So It Will Be With You

Terry BurkeFrom Chris Hedges’ eulogy of Rev. Terry Burke (right), who spent 31 years as the pastor of the First Church Jamaica Plain, a Unitarian Universalist church in a working-class neighborhood of Boston:

I want to speak especially to you, his beloved children, Willow, Amelia and Lucy, who were the alpha and omega of his existence, of whom he was so proud and whom he loved so deeply, to tell you this: The awful, gut-wrenching pain you feel will transform into something beautiful. Your father, for the rest of your life, will be your inner witness. His life will illuminate and guide your own. When you stand up for the wretched of the earth, Palestinians in Gaza, single mothers and their children in homeless shelters, those discriminated against because of their race or their sexual orientation, the impoverished and the neglected, those gunned down in the streets by police because they are poor people of color, when you carry out simple acts of kindness, when empathy makes you demand justice, you will feel your father’s spirit. He will be with you. I know this for a fact. I carry my own father’s presence within me. He was a pastor who, too, was good and kind. Every word I utter, every act I make, is done in fealty to my father. It is my voice you hear, but these are his words. And so it will be with you. And one day there will be solace in this.

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