Readings from Ben Houghton's Funeral and Service of Celebration. 1 pm Friday 11th January, 2019
Romans 8.31, 36-39
God’s Love in Christ Jesus
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? As it is written,
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanby J. K. Rowling
Harry shook his head.
“It was stupid, thinking it was him,” he muttered. “I mean, I knew he was dead.”
“You think the dead we love ever truly leave us?” said Dumbledore. “You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever at times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? […] So you did see your father last night, Harry… you found him inside yourself.”
Adapted from a walking song which appears in both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkein.
Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone
By silver streams that run to sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it finds some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud, and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation.
But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”