No one can say my job is boring, dull or repetitive. This week I have been trying to sell lead – not as easy as you would think! On Sunday night we had a visit from some lead thieves who removed some lead flashing from the church roof but mysteriously failed to take it away with them. The lead was all twisted and could not be used again so I had to sell it to a local scrap merchant. Reassuringly, in spite of the fact that I was wearing my dog collar and knew the proprietor, I was required to present some photo ID and had to have my car number plate recorded.
On the same day three funerals came in, all of them due to take place within twenty four hours. This came is after a relatively quiet period on the funeral front. Of course, each funeral represents a life and a grieving family and requires me to be attentive and compassionate.
Though very different, I find both of these aspects of my job rather unsettling and they cause me to reflect that the forthcoming season of Advent is about being disturbed. It is about being attentive to the signs of the times which may not always be comforting. And it is about ends as well as a beginning.
In all of this, I am thankful for the people who journey with me: colleagues, church wardens and treasurers, insurers and police officers, funeral directors and people who care for the bereaved, members of my congregation whose job it is to care for others or to help at funerals. Funerals are always better when families are united and there are others to lend support. Life is always better when it is lived together and it is better still when it is lived with God. Advent looks forward to the time when we are reminded that God is with us – Emmanuel. Hopefully, I can spend the next few weeks renewing my sense of God being with me.
Vicar of St Peter’s Maney