...since I've posted. A lot has happened. Went to my grandad's ("Grandfather's")funeral on friday which was a seriously profound experience. It was sober and sad in terms of parting, but it seemed clear to everyone that beyond that there was no reason for it to be sombre. It was a time to be joyful for him - that he is reunited with my Grannie, that he is no longer having to struggle with the mental and physical trials of old age, and that he is with his Saviour.
Particularly moving was one of the hymns, "I cannot tell". His memory had deteriorated over the last couple of years which had in almost all senses been a very negative thing, but my Aunt explained how in one respect it had been positive. He had a piece of paper in his Bible with the words of this hymn, and every few days my parents or my aunt would get a phone call from him talking of this hymn which he had "discovered". It was clear that each time this happened he was coming to it freshly, as if for the first time and it clearly spoke to him powerfully each time of God's love for him.
I came away with a lot of admiration for him, and also a lot of recognition of some of the things he enjoyed - some things that I enjoy but don't make time for. It's increased my awareness that I'm not good at resting to work - that I spend so much time running on empty and I'm desperate to learn to do things differently.
One of the things I've come back to in the last couple of days is liturgy. I think tradition for tradition's sake is a bad thing, but sometimes things have become "traditional" because they've been tested by time and generations have found it helpful and good. I love this post-communion from Common Worship for instance:Father of all,
we give you thanks and praise,
that when we were still far off
you met us in your Son and brought us home.
Dying and living, he declared your love,
gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.
May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;
we who drink his cup bring life to others;
we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,
so we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord.
Something I've been working through at the moment is John 6, where Jesus is teaching and his disciples find what he says difficult and offensive, and some of them "withdrew and did not walk with him anymore." It makes me think how stubborn I can be. Would I be offended by Jesus (after all it must be pretty humbling to spend much time with someone who's ALWAYS right!)? I'm good at convincing myself that I know best, but could/can I swallow my pride enough to accept that what Jesus says is right even if I can't see or understand why? I believe that Jesus' precepts stand up to scrutiny, but after all the scrutiny is ended and I'm left with the stark choice of my way or his way, it has to come down to what Peter had to say: He [Jesus] has the words of eternal life. I don't.