Stoical regular readers will remember my agonies of indecision over a suitable title for a service of remembrance and thanksgiving
last month. Tonight, being 31st October, was the service itself, and I am in a state of completely gobsmacked euphoria. One day, when I am feeling very brave and very honest, I will sit down and ponder why I am so consistently amazed when God does actually respond to the many requests for intervention I hurl his way, but for now I am simply and profoundly grateful.
We had sent out around 80 letters to those with whom we had contact via funerals during the year, and 70 of them turned up. 94 candles were lit, to mark not only the obvious bereavements that were on their hearts tonight but other more hidden losses, broken relationships, miscarriages, disappointments with self or with other people, and the silence at the end of this section of the service was so full of holiness it was almost visible....
Afterwards, people who had no regular connection with the church were saying that "they felt that they belonged here"....and were talking to and supporting each other, sharing watery smiles, a few tears and lots of memories over a glass of wine. The most unlikely members of the regular congregation appeared too, and seemed to be entirely complimentary...which is nothing short of miraculous in a church where a minor variation in the Gloria this morning was labelled a "shameful travesty". Tomorrow, I know reality will bite again, as the Great Row of the Servers, the thorny question of the Churches Together Christmas Card and all the warp and woof of parish life take centre stage, but for tonight I simply wanted to share my joy and awe at being involved in a little part of God's process of healing and restoration for his hurting people. Deo Gracias.