Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Weekend of Farewell

Crowd attending the memorial service in Warsaw.
On Saturday, at 8:56 a.m. I had to look out my window to make sure everything was okay.  I hate air raid sirens and they all went off throughout Poland to start the weekend of sorrow and farewell. 

Hundreds of thousands mourned and said good-bye to the 96 passengers of the Poland plane which crashed a week ago.

The faces on the family members were more than sorrowful, they were hopeless.  As I watched the line of family member receiving rosary beads as a symbol of their kin, tears filled my eyes.  I am living in a country who proclaims to know God and yet it is just window dressing for most.  There is such a sense of loss and hopelessness here.
Inside the funeral in St. Mary's Cathedral.

Today at 2 p.m. the sirens when off again to announce the beginning of the funeral.  I am right now flipping stations from Polish to English  coverage of the President and Mrs. Kaczynski's funeral.  It looks like hundreds of thousands are sitting/standing Krakow's city square.  It is amazing to me that this is a place that is so common to me and I have been in the St. Mary's church so many times.  It brings it very close to me.
The service is so like many that I have attended here, empty.  There are some who genuinely know and follow Jesus Christ and are in the Catholic church, and yet for the majority of Poles, it is just a national identity and "obligation" for country pride.

This morning we heard two teaching as church about this tragedy and what it means to us in Poland.  The first was a beautiful talk about how true believers are the only ones who can ask tough questions to and about God and yet be comfortable about those questions.  We have a Creator who know all and our trust is in Him, not in the events of the world.    The second one was more subdued as our pastor talked about how life is empty without God.  How everything is meaningless without the One who gives meaning.

Later today the Kaczynski's will be layed to rest in the Cathedral in Wawel castle.   I have heard rumors though that they may be buried in a different wing of the castle.   There was GREAT controversy when it was announced that they would be buried in the same place of past Kings and Queens of Poland.

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