For no reason I can remember, I put the ’90s classic Four Weddings and a Funeral on my Netflix queue and re-watched it recently.The scene etched in my mind all these years was that of the funeral. John Hannah, with his beautiful Scottish accent, reads “Funeral Blues” by W. H. Auden:
What the clip leaves off is the funeral officiant, presumably an Anglican priest, introducing the beloved partner of the man in the coffin as “his closest friend.”
My friend Bill died recently. A brilliant scholar, he had suffered a number of strokes, and was being cared for in a facility that catered to patients with dementia and brain injuries. He decided that it was time to let nature take its course. He refused most food and medications, and died in short order, but he died fully confident in the resurrection life that lay ahead.
A few weeks later I was in the ER with a man in his mid-to-late nineties who had also suffered from a number of strokes.
Just before the papal encyclical on the environment was released, the hype in environmental circles matched that for Taylor Swift’s latest music video. (To be clear: “Bad Blood” deserves the hype.) Who will Laudato Si’ affect the most? What will its rationale be? What sort of reception will it get? Most importantly: will it matter?
Oh, I think flower gardens are a lovely way to spend one's time. They add a little beauty to our world, and make for a wonderful visiting place for our beleaguered pollinators. I can see the delight in that.
As a young minister in my early 20s, I was often admonished by the senior ministers to keep a guarded distance from laypeople. To get too close, they would say, is to become too familiar with a resulting loss of one's ministerial authority. They thought authority was protected by distance and diminished by relationships.