We laid to rest today Alan the old priest. He was warm and gentle. He was playing the organ in church just a few weeks ago. He sang hymns right to the end. The creeping onset of Alzheimers seemed simply to reinforce the gentleness – accelerated the exuberance with which he shared the Peace – and did nothing to diminish the hymn singing.

We laid him to rest in the graveyard at Callendar – in the shadow of Ben Ledi to the sound of birdsong – as Alison the Rector said ‘in a new grave in which no one had yet been laid.’ It was a beautiful, calm, sunlit day. On the breeze, one could hear the whisper of ‘Well done good and faithful servant’. And maybe even beyond that the sound of stones poised to be rolled away.

I used these words which haunt me

“What though he standeth at no earthly altar
Clothed in white vestments on that golden floor
Where love is perfect and no step can falter
He serveth as God’s priest for evermore”

Said to be from the writings of
John Sinker, first provost of Blackburn Cathedral (1931)