Palm Sunday…

I suppose I thought I ought to write something, it being the start of Holy Week;

I’ve not really got a deep and inciteful reflection simmering away, instead an endless stream of things going on… My first thought: It is so cold... we are down South now, this time last year we were up in West Yorkshire, and by all accounts the snow and ice are terrible up there, deep drifts mean that some villages are totally cut off, and have been for several days…

… this turns my thoughts to their second preoccupation: funerals… I may only have been ordained for five and a half months, but sadly I’m already becoming something of an old hand at these… I’ve taken 11 funerals so far and I have four funerals coming up, two actually in Holy Week… there are more people dying at the moment than usual… apparently the funeral directors could see it coming -after a period of time with fewer funerals, Age, and the cold weather are conspiring to catch up again…

I think funerals are very important, and I put a lot of thought and effort into preparing for each funeral that I’m asked to do… after all, you only get one chance to get it right, both for the deceased, and for their bereaved relatives. And though it might sound strange to those outside the priesthood -I actually rather appreciate funerals as part of my ministry… Being able to speak hope, sincerely, into such situations of loss -is a privilege.

Although every funeral is different, and sometimes it is God’s forgiveness, or even more starkly, God’s justice, that matter more to those left behind.

But back to Palm Sunday and Holy Week… My next thought turns towards Salisbury Cathedral, at which the Chrism Mass will take place on Maundy Thursday… I am grateful that I managed to attend at least one Chrism mass during my training, as I may be playing a  liturgical role in this one, in my year as a transitional deacon.

And then my thought turns towards the Easter Garden… and my sore throat:

I constructed an Easter garden yesterday, to take along to a care home service on Good Friday… I enjoy making models, and so this was a nifty little tomb made of the end of a Pringles pack, covered with modelling plaster-cloth… It looks pretty good… however, I also covered the garden area with the kind of ‘grass’ you use when constructing the landscapes of model railways… a sort of very fine dry shredded woodchip, tinted dark green with dye…

Easter Garden note hazardous but effective grass

Easter Garden, note hazardous but effective grass!

…So I’d painted my creation, and then smothered various bit of it with glue, then tipped a heap of green ‘grass’ onto the surface, tilting it back and forth to coat all the sticky bits… I then tipped the excess off… but there were still some loose pieces -so I decided to blow them away with a puff of breath… so I took a deep breath-

-and inhaled a lungful of tiny shredded green woodchips, smaller than sandgrains. 24hours later and as I intermittently cough, I’m wondering how many model railway enthusiasts have died of miner’s lung due to working with such a hazardous material…

Which brings me back to funerals… It’s a good job death isn’t the end, since there are so many ignominious and painful ways to die… For now I shall assume inhaling  a teaspoonful of fake scenery isn’t one of them… time for another cup of tea.

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About Jemma

Learning to be both a priest and a human being in the Anglican Church
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