Last night I watched Part Two of an interesting PBS documentary about Mormons. I have always found this religion a tad fascinating as I know I could never believe in Joseph Smith's revelations, but so many people do. I am not judging them, though, because no matter what your religion, you have to have "faith" that the unexplainable did occur or will happen.
What I want to write about is their interesting concept of Eternal Families. From what I understand, families go through a "sealing" process. This ensures that their families will be together for eternity - in this life and the next. It is an interesting concept and one I have never really thought about. As a parent, I can't imagine not always being with my family. I have no idea what happens after death, but I just assumed that if there is some sort of afterlife, of course my children would be there. It seems odd that you need an actual ceremony. But, the peace of mind that it brought these families was pretty amazing. They gave an example where a daughter (around 20) was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. The one thing giving her comfort was that even though she would not get to see and experience all that her ten brother and sisters would, she would get to be with them again in the next life. The families they portrayed seemed very strong and committed to each other.
As Unitarians, we don't have the luxury of such concrete notions. There are no definate ideas of families and "the beyond". While each of us may or may not have a solid idea of where we are headed, there is no certainty. Unitarianism puts emphasis on the here and now and making this life the best it can be. I agree with that, but sometimes think we don't allow ourselves enough time to reflect on what physical death means. Obviously we can't ever know, but I like to think somehow we will all come together as one (whether or not we have been sealed). Until that time, I will continue to work towards the best life possible right now.