Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Funeral Row Boat

Much of my day was spent preparing and conducting a funeral for a much loved member of our Margaret River congregation. When I was training for ministry, a wise person once told me that as a minister we have a unique role to play at the point of death. They used the image of a lake that the family and friends cannot cross. As the minister, we have the task of rowing the deceased person to the other side of the lake. This is not only a service to the person who has died, but a huge comfort to the family and friends that their loved one is in safe hands.

This image has always stayed with me and I always find it a privilege to be with people around and after death. Today was no different. It is such a huge responsibility to hold people when they are at their most vulnerable. This is often the time when the most profound questions are asked and the veil between the spiritual and the physical becomes very thin. Often, I find that the family and loved ones allow you to become close very quickly. Stories are shared, insecurities are aired and truths are exposed. 

Funerals are often seen as morbid affairs, but for those of us who take on the role of rowing the boat, they are precious moments. So today I give thanks for the life of Kathleen and thank her family for the privilege of  allowing me to be part of this transition in life.

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