Remember how i said in the post about the discipline of 'slowing' that i would probably be posting in a couple of weeks about how busy i am, well this is it. But i thought it worth posting about some of the stuff i've been caught up in doing because i had the interesting and valuable experience of going into the local primary school this morning (on top of visits, meetings etc as usual) and talking about 'death and funerals' with a group of ten year olds. It was interesting to observe how kids get a handle on death in a way that adults don't necessarily manage. They were concerned about what happens to someone when they died, and keen to share what had happened to grandad's or auntie's ashes after they were cremated or where so and so funeral's took place and what happened.
I never ceased to be amazed with children's capacity to learn and to deal with things - of course for many the reality of death hasn't yet really 'come home' to them yet, and even us grizzled old Vicars can't become hardened to the pain of loss, even if we didn't know someone particularly well it can still be moving to have to minister to a bereaved family, and to take the funeral of someone, especially in tragic circumstances. We have a particularly difficult funeral coming up in my village in the next week or two, and i find myself feeling a sense of bereavement because of the circumstances, and because it is affecting not just the family but many in this village community. A reminder of the privilege and responsibility of the ministry we are called to.
I'm also reminded how crucial it is to the mission of the Church to be involved in the community in which we are set - we cannot be divorced or distanced from these places, but need to immerse ourselves in our context, or to be clearer, just to be here, to feel, to care, to pray, to hope, to wait,, to love. I think one of the greatest disservices we do to the Gospel is to separate ourselves from the people and places God has called us to serve.
End of sermon :-)