Old fashioned

It’s good to be back and not to be going anywhere for a while. It’s a rule of life for me that I should come back with fewer e mails in the Inbox than when I went away, And I just about managed that. An entry in my Facebook from Alison notes all the things I have lost and found over the last few weeks. I’m most proud of the recovery of my cycle helmet which I hadn’t seen for more than two weeks. As one does, I had been thinking back to work out where I left it. I had a eureka moment – appropriately enough in the swimming pool yesterday – when I became convinced that I had left it in the dry (sic) cleaners. And so it proved to be. The self-appointed guardians of my mental state don’t know whether to despair of the absent-mindedness that left it there – or to be impressed by the mental powers which recovered it.

Today we gathered to lay to rest Ian Watt, faithful priest and servant of the church. Ian gave a lifetime of service – Provost of our Cathedral, Secretary General of the SEC, Rector of Kinross – people from all of those places and more gathered to give thanks for his life, the richness of his ministry and its impact on many people

At the Commendation in the Service, I found myself saying something like this:

At every funeral, we stand in the presence of death and proclaim the resurrection.
At every funeral through the tears of our loss we declare an unaccountable joy in the life that is to be

Of all the things I miss … strangely it is funerals. In Portadown, there were industrial quantities of tea and cake, people calling, ‘sorry for your trouble’ – and then a funeral which represented the patterns of a community which was still in touch with the roots of faith. We would all – sometimes hundreds of us – end up standing around an open grave

We didn’t do much of the softening of ‘Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of ….’ which is so common in Scotland. And I wish that the funeral industry would allow us to recover what I think is the essential of funerals – that our resurrection hope is tested and given reality by the sadness of our loss. As it was today.

It goes without saying that the preacher removed my jacket in his haste to get to the Crematorium. But I got that back as well.

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