Life and death…death and life

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way death is held and handled in the natural world, how different that may be to our various societal approaches to death, and possible reasons for this.

It seems that life can flow through aspects of the natural world that have died and are decaying.

New light can shine through, giving new perspectives.

Unexpected growth can come, which may or may not prove useful as an end, but can be a process which brings a different kind of beauty.

A form of protection can also be found to enable a nourishing and healing end for the surrounding community.

Sometimes, rather than an end, there is potential and the possibility of a beginning. Before this possibility is realised there is a period of rest and recuperation.

That rest occurs in community; it’s each taking care of one another’s needs…

…until finally there are the first signs of new life, growth, a new season.

With news stories such as this Triple Death Crash or reports of 11 US School shootings this year, it is little wonder that we often struggle to see death as a positive part of life. Equally losing a long loved relative can feel like just as much of a tragedy to those who grieve as the stories which make up our headlines. How often do we stand in solidarity through these times, not only in the weeks following but, in the months and even years that those left behind seek to adjust to a different way of life…a life without. I was astounded to find that for a major bereavement work places generally give three days of compassionate leave, and that is it. There are many front facing professions where this is just not enough for a person to recover to a state of being able to function. Equally after a few short weeks, no more than months, you are expected to be back to normal and yet this season of grieving can last well beyond expected time frames. Do we expect too much of ourselves, of one another? Do we allow safe spaces to voice our pain, our loss and our grief? How can we do this better?

Ember Day

#428 For #emberday we prayed for those #preparingforordination, those in #ordainedministry and those going through the #discernmentprocess in College Group worship. We were encouraged to walk as we prayed. Looking at God’s creation for inspiration as we prayed, I found myself focused on these leaves fallen away from trees in the grounds of Cuddesdon. There is a time and #seasonforeverything – a time to study and be formed, and a time to serve. A time to discern and question, and a time to follow; a time to retreat and a time to be sent out; a time to grow and flourish, and a time to rest and refresh. May the boldness of the Spirit #transform us, may the gentleness of the Spirit #lead us, may the gifts of the Spirit #equip us to serve and worship God. Amen