Today I am taking the funeral of friend of mine. She was 70 years old and had been ill with cancer for the past 4 years. She was a beautiful person, and what I mean by that, is that she was beautiful on the inside. She was kind, loving and cared about all the people around her. She held a strong Christian faith and sharing in the service of Holy Communion was very important to her. Even when she was very ill, she would look forward to my visiting with the bread and wine of Holy Communion and some of her friends would join us.
When there was no more treatment or surgery that would make her life easier or longer, she had a peace of knowing that although she did not want to leave her family and friends on earth, there was a place of love and peace with her Heavenly Father who had loved her from before she was born.
At her funeral she asked for a reading from the Bible from the letter to the Philippians 4: 4-5, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and requests in thanks, let your needs to be made known to God.
She was someone who loved the countryside and couldn’t believe there was a better place to be than in the middle of Devon.
When someone we love dies, it is natural to feel sad and cry – it is because we love them, we feel the pain of their death. At first it can feel as if life cannot continue, but is always does, but in a different way. We learn to change and manage life in a different way. It takes time, but the memory of that person always remains, the happy times, the laughter and even the sad times.
It is easy to think about what we have lost… but maybe we also need to rejoice that we have known them and they have been a part of our lives. I will not forget Anne, she showed me what living as a Christian person in a community can be like. I hope I have learned some good things from her. She reminds us that we should always rejoice in the Lord – even when sometimes we do not feel like it.