Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Funeral number four

I really enjoy taking funerals. I’m trying to work out whether that makes me weird and strange, or whether it’s a good thing given my job.

Anyway, this morning’s funeral was the fourth since I started this job. Like all the others, it was an elderly person who’d died of natural causes – I’ve been lucky in my funerals so far. Lots of grief; the woman’s husband, who suffers from dementia, was grieving his wife of more than sixty years and his sadness broke my heart. I ended up directing most of the service to him, trying to be as comforting as I could. But there was no sense that this death was untimely or dreadfully tragic.

There’s something satisfying about seeing a coffin lowered into the ground, and throwing earth onto it with the words “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection”. It seems to sum everything up; the finality and tragedy of death and the hope that we hold.

Went to have lunch with the family and had one of those minister-type moments. One person was introducing me to another; second person said to me, “Oh, are you a neighbour, too?”; first person said, “No, she’s the minister”; second person said, “Oh, I didn’t recognise you without your clothes on”. (I was still wearing clothes – just not an alb.)

On the way to the church I had my first collision with an animal, either a wallaby or a very small, dark kangaroo. I’d slowed down when I’d seen it standing by the side of the road, so I wasn’t going very fast when it bounded in front of me. There was connection, but no damage to my car and by the way it then bounded off again I’m hoping minimal damage to the animal. I’m so glad I didn’t kill it, for many reasons including the fact that it would be embarrassing to arrive at a funeral in tears because I’d just slaughtered wildlife.

When everything was over, the service at the church, the service at the cemetery, the lunch at the house of one of the sons, I got into the car to drive home and turned the CD player on. My current music-to-drive-to is a live recording of Billy Joel (does that date me dreadfully) and the first lines that played were I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints; the sinners have much more fun – you know only the good die young. And I laughed.

It was a pretty short service, but I’m now absolutely exhausted. I do enjoy taking funerals, but, oh, they’re tiring!

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November 28, 2007 Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry, Pop Culture | 5 Comments

In a doxological mood …

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Thomas Ken

and also:

From all that dwell below the skies
let faith and hope with love arise;
let beauty, truth, and good be sung
through every land, by every tongue.

Curtis W. Reese

But remembering:

My fellow citizens in the realm of God,
today we celebrate the only ruler
to whom we can give undivided loyalty:
Jesus of Nazareth, Christ the king!

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
who has visited and redeemed our people
and lifted up the trumpet of salvation,
that being liberated, we might serve God without fear
with holiness and justice all the days of our life.

Through the tender mercy of our God
the Dawn Light from on high visited us,
to guide our feet in the way of peace.

Bruce Prewer

November 25, 2007 Posted by | Life, etc. | 5 Comments

I can’t concentrate!

I haven’t been able to concentrate all day, I’ve been working on my sermon for Sunday and I’ve done all the research and I know what I want to say, but it’s taken me all bloody day to write half of it (well, there was a trip to Broadmeadows Hospital to visit a congregation member, but most of the day has been in front of this computer) because all I can think of is the election tomorrow and I’ve been really listening to Radio National rather than just having it on in the background and my stomach is clenched and my chest hurts and I can’t focus on anything, and I can’t remember previous elections affecting me like this.

November 23, 2007 Posted by | Life, etc. | 1 Comment

Sermon for the 25th Sunday of Pentecost

In the midst of doing all those Internet quizzes, I did actually write a sermon for last Sunday. For anyone who is interested, here ’tis.

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November 20, 2007 Posted by | Ministry | Leave a comment