Looking west from Maungakiekie
As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments. (Psalm 103: 15-18 NRSV)
The Psalmist reminds us of our frailty and the temporary nature of our earthly sojourn. I have been called on to speak at two funerals this week, by virtue of my connection to the deceased, and that I seem to be able to put words together in a brief way, and deliver them appropriately.
At Uncle Bob's funeral on Wednesday, I was happy to be the first speaker, covering the thoughts given to me by cousins and uncles, followed by my own reflections. What came after turned a bit rambling and disjointed, so I was glad to be fresh and concise at the beginning of the eulogies. I was privileged to be a last minute pallbearer at Manukau Memorial Gardens, where we found ourselves in a corner of the gardens where there were a significant number of fresh graves. Burial gets very agricultural with diggers and lots of dirt around. It can be confronting for the uninitiated. It reminded me of Psalm 103, where we find both our brevity of biological life and our eternity of spiritual life discussed. The weight of the casket, and the dirt on the shoes are a very grounding experience.
On Friday I speak at another funeral, that of a life member and sixty year servant of my running club. I'm trying to find words that balance between the 'everlasting to everlasting' and the momentary flourishing joy of life as a runner - 'like grass.'
I am inspired to live life to the full by both of these men who have passed on, their example speaks to me. They help me to articulate as a person and a pastor the journey we walk in this life, flourishing 'like a flower in the field' but also mindful of the everlasting love and grace of God. May the Holy Spirit help us all to find that balance.