Sunday, 3 November 2013

On death and dying

Today in our Church (Coromandel Valley and Blackwood Anglican South Australia) we conflated All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. I invited people to list those whose names we could read out on a roll of the dead. We placed that roll on the corporal with the precious Body and Blood of our Lord. It was lovely to read the list in a reflective way.
We normally have Communion in the round and there is often a very great sense of Real Presence as we administer Communion to each other. Towards the end of the Communion the presence of my mother and father was very close and I began to 'tear up' so I was moved in the quiet after we had all received to remind people to tread carefully with their own grief and that of others.
After the service numbers of people commented on how important that had been for them.
One man who was a visitor from overseas told me about how important it had been for him in order to help with grief for two friends who had died while they had been away.  And I am reminded (for the millionth time in my priestly ministry) that for all the cleverness and inventiveness I think I bring to caring for the bereaved....God got there before me.

In addition to this a faithful priest parishioner died on All Soul's Day, and his sons who have distanced themselves from the faith in which they were nurtured are perhaps a little closer because of the Last Rites (one of them even Googled what it was all about because he didn't know).
For the fact that God is gracious, and for the privilege of ministering to the dying. Thanks be to God!

Thought the cartoon was pretty hilarious too!

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