Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wet and Weeping

One of the projects that we have started here at Christ Church recently is the renovation and reordering of the building to the side of the Church in order to create a multi-function space for different groups to use. Today the builders were going to start work on laying new drains. Needless to say, today turns out to be one of the wettest so far this rainy season. It is really very wet!

I am hoping that the rain will go off soon - not for the builders, but because we have a funeral in Church this afternoon of a long-standing church member who, sadly, died a few days ago of cancer. I am sure other priests and pastors will know what I mean when I say how hard it is to take the funeral of someone you knew reasonably well.

As priests and pastors, we often get asked to take funerals of people we never or only barely knew. I would like to think that we do so with sensitivity and sympathy, but when you knew the person and are yourself part of the grieving community, it is always that much harder. I have always made it a rule not to take the funeral of close family. This rule was pushed to the limit in my previous parish when there was a time when I was regularly taking the funeral of parishioners who had become good friends.

It is a reminder that important though things like building work are in a Church, the real work of ministry is to 'rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep'. Regular readers of this blog will know that I regard death as always an occasion for weeping, even though as Christians we look forward to the day when God will wipe all tears from our eyes.

Until then, he entrusts us with the task of wiping each others eyes for him.

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