A Funeral like a Wedding: 11 May

Graham Jeffery, a good friend and contemporary of mine, died before Easter; his funeral was last Saturday. Before the service we had a delightful slide show of pictures of Graham on the big screen at the front of church (a practice which will surely grow.) The first song, There is a Redeemer, began with a tremendous wall of sound from the congregation behind us, uplifting, enveloping, comforting. There is nothing like wholehearted singing for togetherness.

Graham was Treasurer of his local church inSouth London, a member for well over 20 years. Most of the congregation at his funeral were fellow church members, hence the gusto singing an untraditional song. A few Sunday mornings ago Graham presented the accounts at the Annual Meeting, answering questions clearly and inspiring people to give. Someone commented on what a good job he had done. ‘What if anything were to happen to you?’ ‘You’d be in a mess,’ was Graham’s forthright, amused, reply.

Later that day Graham was in his study upstairs when the call was shouted up for dinner. He didn’t come down. A rogue blood clot had lodged in his lung and he was dead. His church has known two men in their forties dying in recent years. Graham’s death was the greatest shock. A woman who runs a Christian community drama project, which Graham supported, described his death, cheekily, as ‘a shocking exit.’ Bizarrely it was almost the same as his father’s death, also from a blood clot, also following a broken leg, also from a skiing accident. Graham lived 10 years longer than his father.

Graham’s funeral was a time of tears and laughter, good food and wine. Most poignantly, his Vicar ended the burial of his body with tears in his eyes. Graham and his imperfections were remembered fondly. He enjoyed good wine, of which there was plenty. Church members brought food to share: best olives and smoked salmon and much else. Graham enjoyed dressing up, so everyone was given a button hole to wear. We had been told we needn’t wear black, although Graham’s widow had bought a lovely back hat for the occasion, crying all over the shop assistants. As we drove away, we wondered if we looked like we had just attended a funeral or a wedding.

Roger Harper

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2 Responses to “A Funeral like a Wedding: 11 May”

  1. Roger Galstad Says:

    Thank you for the offer of your recent book “The Lie Of Hell”. I am ordering a copy today.

    Just recently I published my own book that also deals with Conditional Immortality from Trinity Press in the US, available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble; “Man’s Ignorance and God’s Grace: A Case For Conditional Immortality”. You may find it interesting as it takes on much of traditional Christian teaching on the matters of immortality and the state of the dead.

    Thanks again,
    Roger Galstad

    • rogerharper Says:

      Good to hear from another Roger carrying the spear of truth. I guess you picked this up through the great Edward Fudge?

      More about the Lie of Hell can be found at http://www.laddermedia.co.uk. Friday this week, March 30, is the publication date.

      Wait a few days, maybe a week, before ordering as I am a little behind with the PayPal button on the website and putting the details on Amazon – work for tomorrow.

      I’ll be interested to read your comments on The Lie of Hell and hope to have some kind of discussion page on http://www.laddermedia.co.uk at some point.

      With love in Jesus,

      Roger

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