Thursday, December 03, 2009

Signs of the Kingdom, Signs of the times Week 1: Thursday

Knocked out by the echoes of the Magnificat in this morning's readings at the Eucharist...
How about this?
For he has brought low
   the inhabitants of the height;
   the lofty city he lays low.
He lays it low to the ground,
   casts it to the dust.
6The foot tramples it,
   the feet of the poor,
   the steps of the need


Later it was time for another funeral - the family had asked for short and simple, and the service at Valley Church certainly fitted that description.
They had suggested that the body went on to the Crem unattended, which is something I cannot and will not allow as long as I'm the one responsible for funerals in this parish...so I'd just told the funeral directors I would go along anyway, taken a deep breath and climbed into the scary loan car that is making life so challenging today.
And, when we got to the crematorium, something wonderful happened.

Usually, when there is no family attending the committal, the bearers retreat to the very back of the chapel while I pray and commend, and send the departed on their way. Sometimes the bearers leave me altogether alone, which gives rise to a whole series of different questions about what one is saying and doing at the time. But today, - today the bearers remained standing, side by side, really close to the coffin as it lay on the catafalque. They responded to the prayers, they befriended the body and treated it with all the reverent care that a family might offer. It was quite impossibly moving.
That little group of men in dark suits, whose work and ministry I've come to take almost for granted, stood as true companions, and showed me Christ as they proclaimed, to anyone with ears to hear
"Any man's death diminshes me, because I am involved in mankind..."

2 comments:

Songbird said...

K, how special.

Cal said...

You just made me cry.

(Hormones, hormones, must be my hormones)