Looking like a very interesting month as the number of funeral services keep on growing! Monday saw a ninety-five year old lead me to the Crem' on a motorcycle hearse - a life of military service celebrated - a good day's work indeed.
Looking up I realise that there are still eleven funeral services involving church, Crem' and graveyard before the month's end - how cool is that?
It's a month with new challenges as I look towards Saturday and speaking at a men's breakfast, the following week I'm doing a talk at a dinner and have a couple of other interesting things like it suddenly pencilled in too! Perhaps I need to stop losing weight so I can become a big fat movie star!!
The month has been tinged with sadness as friends from church have left us. Our beloved Ivy has gone, Larry is no longer with us, Michael has finally succumbed after a long and valiant fight and Brian is with us no longer - having had a tough end to it all. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.
It's a sad thing but having worked in, and with, teams most of my working life I have to say that the one place I have never really found a true collegiality is in the Church. I pray for the churches in our town and consider many to be, if not friends, acquaintances - but the standing together and working for one another such as is found in the engineering world has not been a defining or enduring reality.
I've realised that in recognition of this I am slowly slipping away from the opportunities to engage in shared nothingness - I really can't be bothered with the dissipation and the game-playing, life's too short and the task is so big. It's not that I want people to do things my way; I merely want them to do!
I saw someone I know this week and whilst I'd usually stop and engage with them, this week I realised that they'd been part of Church and had now, passing fad passed, moved in to their next passion of the moment. It was at that moment that I thought, "I don't have the time for this!" and so, praying for them as I went, left them in the distance without them noticing I'd ever been there and carried on to do the task in hand. My presence only seems to cause them embarrassment so it was a win-win outcome I guess: But it is tinged with a sadness that leaves a dent on the paintwork.
It is always sad when people you think are with you prove to be no different that the Christian heroes of the Bible. They deny you at the point when things are troubled in the same way Peter did in a courtyard and like the old Lone Ranger joke where surrounded by a screaming horde he turn to his native Indian companion and says, "Just you and me against all these," hears the words, "what do you mean 'you and me' white man?"
Lots wife told him to 'curse God and die' because she wouldn't go with him - a bitter integrity we sometimes lack in the world of Church.
The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Christ - we will leave that to the Christians :-)
Lord, thank You for the privilege and challenge of Church,
Help us to stand as one and to have an integrity that takes the world's breath away.
To be different through the love we share,
To be courageous and honest,
To be loving and kind,
To follow You and never to count the cost.
Make me, make us, more like You.