Tune: Danny Boy

Life beckons me to wonder and humility

To journey into deep reality

To live for e'er within the realm of mystery,

Forever bound in aweful ecstasy.

Apostasy, the doubt that comes as certainty

I'm seized by dread and vanquished, hopelessly

And I submit to given, fearful history

This perfect love transforms the wonder that is me.

Life beckons me to freedom and lucidity

To be the self that shapes futurity

To bear the weight of painful, conscious rhapsody,

Inventing all that I am doomed to be.

Morality beyond my own integrity

I stand amidst my fate and destiny

And I must ever, always, my own conscience be

That final judgment dreads the wonder that is me.

Life beckons me to service for humanity

To spend my life as solidarity

To be the burdened one, with man's dark tragedy,

This suffering world compels my sympathy.

Humanity, my sole responsibility

The past, the future are for all, I see

And I am called beyond my possibility

The awe­full gift flows through the wonder that is me.

Life beckons me to live complete and joyously

To dwell in showers of blessing, ceaseless!,

To peace that comes from love of dreadful mystery,

In realms of wonder, I will ever be.

Tranquillity, no burden, no hostility

I live with strange, unseen community

And death and I do now embrace, eternally

My consummation, 'tis the wonder that is me.


Tune: Desert Song

The Myst'ry is everywhere I'm trapped in awe for e'er and e'er

And I must roam through life with all its care

Grasping nought for certain except my dying.

Why should I so driven be

To bear with such absurdity?

Still I shall die yearning Lost in the wonder

Of mystery.

The Myst'ry is everywhere

I'll ne'er escape its awful stare

Destroyed, unveiled, within a searing glare

Doomed to live transparent within my dying.

Why am I condemned to see

The pow'r of this finality?

Still I shall die yearning

Lost in the wonder Of mystery.

The Myst'ry is everywhere

And changes all beyond compare.

It runs to breathe surprise into the air

And I find a strange new life in my dying.

Why should I the chosen be

To dance with this vitality?

Still I shall die yearning

Lost in the wonder Of mystery.

The Myst'ry is everywhere

Yet I must doubt this one so fair

For none can ever know its secrets rare

And I'll ever be lonely in my dying.

Why's this awful love in me

Become my sole reality?

Still I shall die yearning

Lost in the wonder Of mystery.


Tune: Waiting, for the Sunrise

O God, the world is waiting for resurgence

Every heart is waiting for you

The hopes of man, the spirit deeps are crying,

Now, O God, the time is comer

And young men see visions of hope

The prophecy from daughters all is rising

Now, O God, the time is come!

God, pour out a portion of your spirit

Give a sign of what is to come

Send down the fire of power and repentance

Now, O God, the time is come!

God, be with us on our journey always

As we serve the anguish of men,

Save us unto thy everlasting glory

Now, O God, the time is come!


Tune: Try to Remember

When you encounter the light at the center

The final dawn of worlds converging,

When life's illumined by light at the canter

Assured by wisdom's swift emerging,

When knowing's ended in light at the center

And life's sacred meaning is in you surging,

Then at the canter, in blinding encounter

You be it.

When you encounter the peace at the center

Where earthly hopes are all transcended,

When life's unburdened with peace at the center

Where worldly cares are all suspended,

When you're delivered to peace at the center

And for mortal foes your hatred's ended,

Then at the center, where no problems enter

You be it.

When you encounter the joy at the center

Your tingling deeps in animation,

When you're possessed by the joy at the center

All things received with affirmation,

When you are speechless in joy at the center

And each moment brimming with wild vibration,

Then at the censor, in wonder filled rapture

You be it.

When you encounter the life at the center

Condemned to be a dead man waking,

When you are boundless with life at the center

Compelled to live on water waltzing,

When you are risen to life at the center

A man who is ageless with hist'ry walking,

Then at the center, while dancing forever

You be it.


God moves In a mysterious way his wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain;

God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.


Those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings as eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint,

Help us, Lord, Help us, Lord, in thy way.

Those who love the Mystery

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings as eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint,

Help us, Lord, Help us, Lord, in thy way.

Those who live the risen life

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings as eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint,

Help us, Lord, Help us, Lord, in thy way.

Those who serve the suffering world

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings as eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint,

Help us, Lord, Help us, Lord, in thy way.

Those who die on the march

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings as eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint,

Help us, Lord, Help us, Lord, in thy way.

Those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up on wings as eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint,

Help us, Lord, Help us, Lord, in thy way.


I have always been very hard on my three boys. A part of it, as you know, comes from the neuroses that God has been trying to whip into some kind of disciplined form for his honor and glory. That did not help the boys much. I wanted my boys to wake up early, not to wait until they were as old as their father. I was finally, after great reluctance, persuaded during the spring that John had awakened, and that he had become a religious. I was harder on him than ever. He would come night after night to talk with me and I would send him away saying, "As long as you ask silly intellectual questions, you have no right to my time. You set up some bull session of your own." But he did not give up. He kept coming back until he got the question out that was worthy to be asked in my presence about such matters. And, with reluctance, I decided he was a religious.

Now he died two weeks too soon. For in two weeks he, on his own, not as the son of anybody, was going to join the order as a full member. I do not know whether in moments of sanity I have ever executed any authority around here. I have at times had outbursts. But now I am going to take authority I do not even know whether I have and receive John in as a full member of this order. And then, in the Council, I am going to suggest that everyone who is in good standing in the order, if they die upon the march, shall be promoted, if you please, to the final class of the order. Right now that is a friar. And so, he would have others join him.

To symbolize that, we are going to bury with him the ring and the cross, and because he was not in our summer here and did not have a cross, I am going to bury my cross. And then we are going to bury with him what up to this moment is the closest thing we have to a uniform, the blue shirt. This will symbolize his detachment, his engagement and his chastity. Amen.

Joseph W. Mathews


The memorial discourse of Joseph W. Mathews at the celebration of the death of his son, John Donaldson Mathews:

Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

I probably do not have to acknowledge in this company that for about three years I have been under something like the doom of death. Little did I suppose that that would come to fruition in the death of my son John. As a memorial to him, I want to talk a little and offer the memorial I promised God I would give a year from the day Betty Glassner died: that in some way or another I would be responsible to see that we found a way to articulate to ourselves what endlessness means, or, to use the traditional category, what immortality would mean in the post­modern world.

So I thought this would be a memorial to Betty too. But then it occurred to me that on the march, up to this moment, six of us have died. The first one (I am going to call them brother and sister) was Brother Warren, infant child of Don Warren, and then was Sister Hockley, and the next was Brother Eming, and the next was Sister Glassner, and the next was Sister Greene, and the most recent was John.

Now I have tried recently to bring into focus the last category in the other world chart, "Endlessness." I have been more and more convinced that actually there are sixty­four lectures and not sixteen. I am not sure that I am going to be ready for several months to get inside and spin it outward the way it ought to be, but I thought perhaps I might now, for the sake of clarity for myself, just deal abstractly and intellectually with it to try to get the target located. But I sense that all of us know more about this from the inside than at the moment we know that we know.

Living in the postmodern world as a one­story universe ­­ and you have to put your foot down hard here or you get lost ­­ we know and acknowledge in gratitude to God that when you die, you die dead. There are no if's, and's, maybe's, or but's; you are dead. You do not even raise that kind of question. That is part of having lost any upper story of the universe. Death is death.

But the next thing you have to begin to work with is the transparency within the one world that you have left. It is within the transparency that you are going to find the reality which you are searching for when you use a category like immortality. In beginning to try to look through humanness, it is pretty obvious to us ­­ and to any man, although he may not have the name ­­ that what happens is that the Mystery comes ­­ or, in terms of your interior being, the awe. You are located, as you begin to try to think about this, over against the Mystery, which you are aware of only in and through frightening dread and scintillating compulsion at the same time.

Once situated there, as I look back, the first big "think" that comes is something we have talked about many times. A man never finally lives his life until he lives his death. That is to say, John is now one step beyond me. I have yet to experience the unbelievable, wonder­filled dread and fascination which is the experience of death, and until a person has, he is not fully human. If you bracket everything else and think only of this, at this moment when you look through the transparency, John is now more human than his aged father. I think that is probably the first awareness that comes.

The next one, as again I go back, is the awareness that life is as mysterious as death. It is pretty clear that anybody who says he knows anything about the dark domain of death, except that it is death, is self­deceived. Death comes at you as just sheer mystery. You do not have to do a double­take. If you are looking through to the center of things, there is just sheer mystery. But you have to do a double­take to grasp the fact that life is just as mysterious as death. If somebody would ask me to say what life is, finally I would be as hard put as to say what death is, except for one thing which I will get to in a moment. I do not know what life is. It is exactly as mysterious as death. It is exactly as wonder­filled, both with dread and fascination, as death is itself.

The exception I mentioned earlier is that if somebody asked me what life is all about, I could easily rattle it off. Life is mystery, life is freedom, life is love, and life is fulfillment. The interesting thing is that if somebody would ask me to say what death is all about, I could do it. Death is all about mystery, and freedom, and love, and fulfillment. That is what you mean when you say, as Saint Francis did long ago, Brother Life, or is it Sister Life? I do not know which, and Brother Death, or is it Sister Death? That is, you are in exactly the same hands, in the hands of the same final reality, in life as in death.

When you get pretty clear about that, then I think you are ready for the transparency to become transparent. I do not quite know how to say this yet, and I have to start something like this rather slowly. As you live in the Land of Mystery, this was true long before we had the categories), and the River of Consciousness, and on top of or down underneath ­­ I do not know which ­­ the Mountain of Care, and since you have waltzed on the Sea of Tranquillity, you have become increasingly aware that you are your being. When this becomes intensified (I do not know whether it is sudden although the last jar of it I think is sudden), you become aware that you are simply the rolled­up ball of all the awe you have been. This is what you are.

Here you bracket the metaphysical questions and do not even raise the question of immortality, whether grossly or subtly in relationship to man's attempt to define himself, whether it be with the ancient pharaohs who were going to maintain the human drive of immortality by building pyramids that nothing could wipe away, or whether it be the more subtle and more crude personalistic philosophy of foreverness as the continuation of personal existence. You can even remember hearing people say, "If there is not a continuation of myself on my basis in death I will have none of it." That is crude. You wipe that out.

You are dealing with states of being. You are dealing with the phenomenal in life that brackets the metaphysical, that brackets a rational explanation of the numinal. (I am on a bit of a tangent now, but not too much.) And when you see that, then you become aware that when a word like immortality, or endlessness, broke into history, it broke into history as a phenomenological state, as a state of being. Men became aware of endlessness. That is what you are trying to break through on when you say that you experience yourself as being.

But you can only understand that if you put it negatively. No longer are you aware of yourself as living. No longer are you aware of yourself as dying. You are aware only of your being. You people from India will have some understanding of this. That is to say, in the other world I am no more alive, and I am no more dead. Categories of living and dying do not apply to the other world. There are only categories of being.

I was very irritated with the verse of the song "Come and go with me to that land" which said, "There is dying in that land." There is not any dying there! But what I was not bright enough to see was that the song was theologically incorrect even beyond that verse. Another verse said, "There is living in that land." Well, there is not any living there! In the other world there is only being. Therefore, the rubrics of life and death have no significance.

Only the rubrics of being have any significance. There is only being there. This is what Saint John means when he talks about eternal life. Eternal life is not something that is going to happen after you die; it is not something that is going to happen before you die. It is the eternal moment which is beyond the rubrics of both the living and the dying. In the other world there is only being.

It is only when you get that far that you can even begin to understand what Kazantzakis means when he talks about "Saviors of God." Oh, that is offensive to anybody who is sensitive. It is extremely offensive to me. Did you ever think you are a savior of God? In this experience, when you grasp that you are beyond life and death, in this terror­filled awareness, you know that the mystery, which is being­in­itself, has no opportunity to be except through your being. Now, you think, God is finally present in this world, not through sticks and stones, although your being touches sticks and stones. The Aboriginal people in Australia and the African people long ago understood this, although they had no words for it. God ­­ and if this sounds next to sacrilegious to you, that is the way it should sound ­­ or Being is dependent upon my being. And although you never lose the sense of your own distinct being, you know there is no being without your being. And, since everything but being­in­itself, the mystery, is contingent and temporal, that means that my being is everlasting. And, if I may put it into poetry, God and I in this state come to terms with one another. It is as though I were to say, "God, I will be your being, in my living and dying. I will be your being." And God says, "All right, all right, and I will let you participate in my endlessness." Do you hear that?

This is why Sartre's play No Exit is quite different than if you were going to write the play that I was writing here today. There are mirrors there, but in this play when you look in the mirror, you see the face of the Son of Man. Lela Mosley, that means that you and I and John up there, in heaven, all are going to look somewhat alike.


We are here to mark the sojourn through life of John Donaldson Mathews. John was sent by God to live in this world, and now he has been called from his station. He was sent to be a part of the family of mankind. He was born January 19, 1952, in Hamilton, New York and died his death August 8, 1972, near Rawlins, Wyoming.

John was a son and a brother. He was a son to Joseph and Lyn Mathews. He was a brother to Joe and Jim and Gloria. All of these now survive him. John was a citizen of Chicago, a full member of the order within the Church of Jesus Christ and the People of God. He was currently assigned to the San Francisco Religious House where his assignment was to be a student in the City College of San Francisco. He was also a teacher in many of the courses of the Ecumenical Institute.

In becoming a global servant, he spent over one year of his life as a student on the continent of Latin America. For three years he was on the faculty of the summer camp of the Emerging Generation of the order. His deeds are hereby rendered up to history, as a sign of a life expended on behalf of all men.

John was anchored in the historical Church of Jesus Christ. At age nineteen, he was baptized into the Methodist Church to signal his decision to be the Church. He was raised and nurtured by the Church as a member of the families of the order. By his own decision, he chose the order as his life vocation. At death, he now claims his place among the congregation of the faithful and the triumphant.

John, finally, was a solitary. He lived his life in joyous sobriety, and now in awesome tranquillity is living his death. His life is complete and will remain forever as part of the eternal mystery that shapes and creates the world.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Ecumenical Institute, Chicago

August 11, 1972


Context: Throughout her history the Church has born witness to death as a fact of life. Only in recent decades when the Church forgot who she was has she lost the profundity of the experience of death. Death can neither be glossed over nor hidden. It is the one fact of life that is most profound. Precisely in death does man find his significance. Death is the most lively experience of life. In death being death and nothing more 1s it eternally significant. Death is death to all of life.

1. It is death to all humanity. No single death is simply the death of one person. All humanity becomes different when one life ends. In death therefore there is no division between the sexes or cultures or classes. Humanity simply loses some of its humanness in a death.

2. Therefore at death we grieve. We grieve without shame or guilt. Shame is present at a death, but because of the loss to humanity shame is irrelevant. The shame that is present is shame over life, not death. It is shame over past deeds and misdeeds. Anger is also irrelevant. The anger is at being itself, at one another, at ourselves. But this is anger over the loss. There is no going back in death. There is only the grief over a loss to humanity. There is also loneliness at death. But we do not grieve because we are lonely. We grieve over the lost humanness. The loneliness in fact produces only fear and fascination. Loneliness is a foretaste of that final peace we all enter, the peace that is utter separation and utter unity simultaneously. Grief at death has nothing to do with shame or anger or loneliness. It is the stunning loss of an invaluable, unique life.

3. Death is also a death to the Church, the universal community of the people of God. At birth every human being is born into some community of faith. He is nurtured by that community until he reaches the day when he has the option of choosing that community. In the community of the people of God it is no different. We are born into it; we choose it; we sustain it by our lives. At death a spirit life is lost. The Church loses an unrepeatable element of her ministry. The Church grieves that loss. Grief in this context is disclosed as an aspect of Christian joy. It is a part of that aspect that makes Christian joy unspeakable.

4. Death is death to a city. Every man is a citizen of some city. Maybe it is not the city of his birth. It is the city where he acts out his citizenship. He shapes and is shaped by this city. At death all the returns are in and we grieve the loss of that citizenship.

5. Death is death to the family, the family we are born into. Some day we choose it or choose to leave it. The family we are in we grow within, and we give life to the community. At death we grieve the loss to the family.

6. Death is death to the solitary. Each man is a uniqueness. As an individual he shapes civilization. In fact it is only the solitary dimension of individual lives that creates civilization. From the solitary we create the family, the city, the church, and humanness itself. At death we grieve the loss of the solitary. It is the loss of a creational spirit, its mystery, its freedom, its service, its oneness.

7. Death is death to all relations except the relation to the mystery. In the celebration of a death we acknowledge the coming to be and the coming not to be of a life. Every human being has only one thing to know, only one thing to do, one thing to be: his death. Only at death therefore do we know, do and be our life.


As of this date, JOHN MATHEWS , born 1/19/52 has completed all of the requirements for graduation from this school.

Please accept this letter in lieu of a diploma which is now being printed.

Joseph W. Mathews

3444 West Congress Parkway

Chicago, ILLINOIS 60624

Dear Mr. Mathews:

I am informed that you are the father of John Donald Mathews who was killed in an automobile accident here in Carbon County, Wyoming on August­ 8, 1972. The Administrator of the Estate of Joseph B. McMurdo, deceased, has sued the undersigned as Administrator of the Estate of John Donald Mathews, deceased. According to the suit John Donald Mathews was the owner and operator of a 1963 Volkswagon automobile bearing 1972 Washington license No. ORJ946.

Do you know whether your son had liability insurance on said automobile?

Thanking you kindly in advance for your assistance, I am



AUGUST 11, 1972

One hour before the service the four watchers went to the family apartment for the box and with members of the Order posted along the way walked to the Great Jall. In the Great Hall the box was placed on a small table at the end of the center table(opposite the East) . It was covered with a linen napkin. Then, the four watchers took their positions at the four corners of the chairs. The watchers were: Sarah Buss, James Wiegel, Frank Hilliard, and Anne Slicker. They remained standing throughout the service.

The Community entered and sat in chairs with the front row on each side left empty.

After the family entered the singing began with: My Consummation Mystery is Everywhere

Following the singing, the Daily Office began

The liturgists were: Joseph Slicker Fred Buss James Campbell Phil Townley David McCleskey Aimee Hilliard

Then there was the singing

At the end of the

Old Testament Lesson: Job

New Testament Lesson: Romans 8:



Creed the Community was seated

Joseph, Joe, Jr., and Jim Mathews came forward and stood in front of

the first Liturgist, facing the table.

They read:

Joseph: "I Am the resurrection and the life" from the Book of Common Prayer

page 324

Joe, Jr.: the 23rd Psalm

Jim: Prayer from Methodist Service

Then Joseph talked on ENDLESSNESS with Joe, Jr. and Jim standing Then he asked Lyn and the rest of t 1 e family to come forward. They stood behind the table with the ashes, facing East. There was the singing of AT THE CENTER

Joseph then talked about John and declared him a Prior, a full member

of the Order in his own right. Lyn and Joe then removed the lid of the

box and placed inside John's silver ring, Joe's cross and blue shirt. They

then closed the box and covered it with the napkin and returned to stand

with the family.

Frank then came forward and read the eulogy, after which there was the


Then Slicker and Buss brought dirt from the altar and Slicker read the lines "ahses to ashes, dust to dust"

They both put hands full of dirt on top of the napkin

Then there was the song THOSE WHO WAIT ON THE LORD

At the second verse Joe and Lyn came to the table, touched the dirt, then the whole family left.

At the close of the song there was a prayer and Benediction

At the gong the Community knelt as the Liturgists recessed.

The Community sang THOSE WHO WAIT ON THE LORD on leaving the Great Hall

After the Community recessed, the liturgist were posted along the way and the watchers brought the box from the Great Hall to the car.




AUGUST 11, 1972