With Minister Tim Groves Resound Church, Mangotsfield, Bristol
Death is always with us, enmeshed within the living. I say this as I prepare to do another funeral. I have always made it a point not to charge for funerals, nor indeed for marriages for that matter – these being our gift to those standing at life’s key thresholds.
I am reminded that death is never far away, hovering as it does to unsettle and unnerve our commitments and ambitions. Yet for many of us, we often walk through life with little regard for its fleeting brevity. Imagine if you will, a man who has failed thus far to pull into himself all the courage necessary to enter into conversation with the work colleague with whom he has been swapping smiles and the occasional niceties.
Imagine his reaction when he receives her call. In this moment his world begins to spin on a new axis. Now new opportunities challenge the drudgery and familiarity of his day and hold out the possibility of a new future to make his own. Similarly, picture a woman who receives a letter from the breast screening clinic notifying her that it’s time for her regular check-up.
As if standing on an invisible threshold of the unknown and unwelcomed, a dark dread fills the space where peace once stood.
The wise tell us that to be fully alive we must make our home amongst the shadows, that only embraced endings hold out the possibility of new beginnings. Allow yourself to be shaken from the willow and wisp of a world in constancy that conjures up shape for your day, and come alive to the unplanned.
Be open to the moment, which has the power to cast your world in a spin, and set your priorities aright. There in that uncomfortable place, the ‘you’ you have been waiting for.
At Resound we are a community who remain alive to the Easter hope, the rays of which penetrate even the cold and rainy season we now find ourselves in. I’m not interested in offering sugar-coated platitudes.
As a minister visiting the sick, the lost and left behind, it is my privilege to announce that the God they had presumed missing from their lives is waiting amongst the pain, the grief, and their aching sense of profound loneliness.
In the midst of these real conversations we speak of the audacity of hope and of the shocking Christian claim that the darkness provides the ready condition for light and hope to grow. May these few words work upon your soul and grant you a tranquility that surpasses understanding. Let the sparks fly. The dark will not last forever.