It’s a very British thing that so many comedy sketches and stand-up routines have been written about funerals.

Many more than about weddings. Is this because in the British culture we use comedy as a way of showing death that we are not afraid? But we ARE afraid.

That is why we find it so difficult to talk about it.

Christians have been given the ultimate example of death and yet we still find it difficult talk about it.

On Sunday 22nd March, Rev Hilary centred her service around the death of Lazarus. Now, Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus. His sister Martha had made him a meal while his other sister Mary had anointed his feet with oil.

Now, did Jesus rush to be by his friends’ side as he lay dying? Did he use his powers to save his friend? No! In fact it was 4 days later that Jesus showed up, to an understandably frosty and frustrated welcome from Mary and Martha.

It seems that this delay was calculated to allow him to perform his greatest miracle to date – the raising of a man from the dead. This suggests that he was trying to give as big a sign as he could to his own death and resurrection that would happen a week or so later.

He felt that he had to make this sign, because he knew that even his closest disciples still did not understand the full implications of his death and how soon it was to happen.

In helping us to understand the power that death holds over us as individuals, and as a society, Hilary used two personal examples from her own life to illustrate this. The first was that of her father who passed away when she was small and the effect that had on her and her family. She then talked about the end of her mother’s life when Hilary was also a mother. The second story was that of a young man she knew who took his own life after a number of attempts. He used to say: “Hilary, death isn’t something to be feared, it’s just the door through which we pass to get from earthly life to eternal life. It’s not the end of one journey and the beginning of another, it’s a doorway on the journey.”

When researching the Easter story, I came across this poem that seemed to sum up everything that Hilary was trying to say to us on Sunday.

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