Part of a minister’s responsibility is to take funerals. You might think it one of the most difficult things we do; and, in a way, that’s true. Yet, standing alongside folk at such times is also an immense privilege.
I took the funeral services of both my grandparents and parents. My colleagues tell me you are not meant to do
that – and I know why that’s the received wisdom!
It did feel lonely meeting their coffins at the entrance to the crematorium
chapel but (I wonder if you can understand this) it was the last thing I could
do for them as a son or grandson. I know
clergy colleagues would have led wonderful services for my folk, but the truth
was, on the day, I wanted to ‘look after them’.
And all four services were fine and I’m unrepentantly glad I did it!
As I’ve heard the sad news this week of two church families at AFC going through
personal loss I’ve been reflecting on those four funerals of my grandparents
and parents and all that has followed.
I’ve known for some time that actually good things have happened to my family
since their passing. These four people
occupied such a central place amongst us that, whilst they were alive, we
simply couldn’t imagine the wider ‘Green Clan’ without them. Yet, since their deaths my brothers and I
have grown closer, and wider family gatherings still ring with laughter and
We have not forgotten them. Indeed, we
speak with much loving affection about them often. Yet we have now grown together in different
ways, and in doing so, I believe, we honour their memory and the wonderful
foundations they laid for us.
The journey of love never ends.
The various phases of grief takes us on many twists and turns and no one
follows exactly the same path. Life
without the people we have lost is different but, pray God, it still holds the
potential to be good.
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