CAPC Oakland

News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland

Blogging Towards Sunday, May 30, 2021

Matthew 3:1-17

Memento mori (Latin for ‘remember that you [have to] die’) is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death. The concept has its roots in the philosophers of classical antiquity, and Judeo-Christian scripture. It also appeared in funeral art and architecture of the medieval period.

If you’ve been to an Ash Wednesday Service you’re familiar with the imposition of ashes to the participant’s forehead and words spoken reminding us that we will all die. This is “memento mori.” Not a fixation or idolization of death, but a recognition that death is an inescapable part of life. Thinking or contemplating our own death can lead us to the realization of how precious life is and to seize the promise of what our life can be.

This Sunday, on Memorial Day when we pause in our national culture to contemplate those who gave their lives in the services of our country, we’re pausing to contemplate death in our worship service. After a year and a half of pandemic life we’ve often had to deal with death on a daily basis, but what does that mean for us. Worship this week is a conversational sermon with CAPC Member Carol Dolezal who also works as a chaplain, specifically with hospice patients.

While it might sound depressing, it isn’t. Rather than avoiding this inevitable aspect of life, we’ll be tackling it head on, reflecting around how death is part of our baptismal liturgy and process. The traditional funeral liturgy includes the phrase “in our death our baptism is made complete.” What does that mean? And what does it mean that scripture says we are the delight of God?


  1. What engaged, enraged, or surprised you in
    today’s text?
  2. What questions do you find in these texts for us as we re-open and re-start…as a church?
    As individual people?
  3. What does it mean for you to envision yourself
    – like Jesus – as the delight of God?
  4. How have you thought about death in this past year? How have you possibly avoided thinking or talking about it?
  5. If you could talk with anyone about your thoughts about life and death, who would it be? What’s stopping you from doing so?

About capcoakland

We are a community of faith seeking to live God's will together: that space where the passions of our hearts and the needs of the world meet in our context of Berkeley, Oakland and Piedmont. Our perspective is based from a Christian center, open to the mystery of God's presence in our world. Our core values are celebration, community & prayer. This blog is our avenue for program updates and information.

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2021 by in Blogging Towards Sunday.
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