I shouldn't be coming anywhere near this blog, at least until after Sunday, when the Food for Thought discussion "Where do we go from here?" takes place.
I've been enjoying reading round the subject of death and the hereafter, in between bouts of taking funerals, and can recommnend David Edwards' book "After Death?" as a good launch pad for the sort of discussion I'm hoping for. Among other things, he offers the full text of Henry Scott Holland's much used "Death is nothing at all..." in which he goes on to represent a rather less cosy, more uncomfortable viewpoint. Definitely can't see that catching on at most funerals.
Tom Wright is thought provoking too in "For All the Saints", where he challenges us to adopt a more strictly Biblical view of what happens next.
Currently, I'm profoundly relieved that I billed our discussion as "many questions but few answers" as I'd hesitate to state anything conclusively, except for my unswerving belief that nothing will separate us from God's love. Not for the first time, I take refuge in the clarity of vision of George Herbert
Whether I fly with angels, fall with dust,
Thy hands made both, and I am there;
Thy power and love, my love and trust,
Make one place everywhere.
I needed to believe that this morning, as I conducted a funeral where the chief mourner arrived handcuffed to a prison officer. I didn't have the opportunity to engage with him properly either before or after the service, but never have I been so glad that the Common Worship rite does allow scope for penitence and absolution. Those moments were the most real of the morning.