A Letter from the Vicar
Our Easter Hope
Many of you will know that my father died from a sudden heart attack at age 52 when I was 18 and just starting out at University. This was back in 1977, and I recall little about the funeral service that took place at that time except that there were a lot of people at the service in church.
Recently I conducted the funeral service of David Wood, a much loved and respected member of St. Barnabas. The service was under Covid 19 restrictions, meaning that everyone was wearing facemasks and socially distancing in family ‘bubbles’; there was no singing of hymns (much to the relief of the immediate family), and numbers were limited to 30. When I was talking to one of the wider family before the service I spoke of the intimacy and intensity that these restrictions had created at services during Covid restrictions, and soon I would discover how these words were to be fulfilled.
During my ministry I have seen in practice the concept of ‘transference’, that is where experiences in other situations of bereavement from an earlier time are triggered by our senses. However, little did I know that this would affect me personally during this service.
It was during my tribute to David, put together by me by drawing together the immediate family’s recollections, that I realised my words about David could have been spoken about my dad at his funeral service all those years before, and I began to mourn again my own dad’s death during David’s funeral service.
A little later in the service I shared some words of comfort with the mourners around the message of the Easter hope. Here are my words:
“Some of you may be thinking ‘where is God in all this? Isn’t God a stranger to suffering and death?’ However, God knew what it was like to lose a loved one, when Jesus died upon the cross. We are in the Easter season, and this reminds us that God is no stranger to suffering and death itself. For God brought Jesus through death to life beyond death and a place where the Bible says: ‘There will be no more death, mourning, crying, pain, and hope of life forever.’ It’s this faith that gives us a hope in God for David’s future, that even now he is reunited with his loved partner through life Valerie, and a hope in God for us all at the appointed time.”
I trust these words were a comfort to the mourners at David’s funeral service, but I can tell you they were a comfort to me that day. I share them with you all that they may be a comfort to you if you are mourning the loss of a loved one, whether recently, or from some time ago.