Thursday, 16 February 2012

Dicing with death

I was offered a cancellation appointment for the Doctor tomorrow, and had to say "I'm sorry I can't I have a funeral!"  
There was a sort of hush at the other end of the line and then a ready acceptance of what I was saying. I am, after all, a priest!
Earlier a friend rang me to see if I could pick her up from the airport...and I'd had to say "Well the only trouble is I have a funeral and I'm not sure what time it will finish!"
They are time-consuming events and it's best not to be hurried.
This morning I said a Requiem for my friend whose funeral it is, because he used to come regularly to the Eucharist at that time. The dozen or so people there knew him well, and it was good to talk about him and about what it means to pray for someone to get well and then find that they die.
My basic idea this morning is that death is an important...even wonderful...time.
Most people have had some experience of death, and we all know it's sad. 
And most people also know that experience of talking about the dead person and finding themselves laughing at stories ...then suddenly wondering if it's OK to laugh at such a solemn time.
I am happy to say that most funerals I have done in the last decade have had their share of laughter. (Sure we will tomorrow)
When we laugh we are perhaps our most authentic...when we are at a funeral we are at our most vulnerable.  The two tend to come rather well!

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