The funeral of the young man killed on a local road is in an hour and a half and i have managed to get some thoughts together. One of the joys and privileges of the Church of England setup, especially in villages, is that we get to know people in our communities in a way that not all ministers have the opportunity to. I am still very much a 'parish priest', out and about spending time in people's everyday lives, being there at important times in life, in celebration and in sorrow.
Having been here for six and a half years it means i am now doing weddings of young people who were teens when i arrived, and baptizing their children. It also means that i am taking funerals of people who i know quite well. Today's funeral is one of those.
Thanks Louise for your comment on my last but one post, the problem i have had is not one of being distant from this young man and his family but actually knowing them well. It is also the second funeral of a young person who has died in tragic circumstances in the last six weeks or so. Even those of us who are used to seeing death and its effect on those left behind relatively frequently can't become immune to the sadness and loss that comes with it - I guess if i did it would be time to give up what I am doing! So now i am off to the local crematorium to lead this service to say goodbye to a quite remarkable young man.