Thursday, 27 October 2011

A feed of beans

Our childhood neighbour Arthur has died and today we celebrated his funeral. Arthur's church was the United Reformed Church in St Mary Cray known as the Temple.

As a boy I remember Arthur and the neighbours of his generation competing to produce the first feed of beans. He was a professional and a passionate gardener.

He also belonged to another age! A world of set in stone mealtimes, of thrift and homemade marmalade and endless talk about weather and cricket.

Arthur and his late wife Peggy (we always called Peggy Mrs Wise!) lived lives of simple decency and order. I felt that today we celebrated the passing of a generation. It was for that reason so very poignant.

Our nostalgia isn’t about wishing a past world back, but rather looking forward in hope.
In these moments we offer the all of us to God and we offer us all to God, especially our loved ones who have died.

Arthur had the best of laughs. Loud and confident and long. As a boy in the saddest of his family's circumstances I saw him cry and I have never forgotten it because it was, I think, my first experience of seeing a man cry.  

In our tears and laughter we remembered a rounded man, a man of the seasons, and we looked forward to the timelessness of heaven where everything is made good, where goodness is rewarded and death is crowned with eternal life.

May he rest in peace.

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