Episode 31, Newsletter 02 February 2020

Prepared for moments of privilege

There are special moments of privilege in life. Perhaps none more so than being asked to participate in a funeral. It’s certainly wonderful to be at a birth, a baby dedication, wedding and other special events. For example, I’m looking forward to joining in the celebrations for Oge’s somethingth birthday next month!

However, a funeral is a summing up, a reflection, a final fullstop on a life. All other events are a beginning, or a new chapter. Just today I spent some time talking to Patricia Palmer about making arrangements for her mother’s funeral. Sadly, Joy died on New Year’s Eve. I’ll be taking the funeral this coming Friday. It put me in mind of how prepared I am for such events.  Recently two friends of mine, Roger and Adam called me in the same week asking for advice about taking funerals. They had been asked to organise or participate in funerals in Birmingham and Glasgow. They called me because, in our fellowships in the UK, I probably have more experience of taking funerals than most. I’d hardly call myself an expert (!) but I’ve done a fair few funerals.

I was able to help them, but it occurred to me that I could be better prepared to offer advice for these moments of privilege. Therefore, I sat down this week and compiled a handbook for taking funerals. The booklet is a mixture of my own experience, materials from friends and other resources I have tapped into over the years.

If you’re preparing to help at a funeral, or you might take a funeral in the future, file this booklet away. You may find it useful.

However, the broader point that occurred to me is about being prepared for these moments of privilege. Do you have one of these moments of privilege coming up in the near future? Perhaps at some point in 2020. Will there be a birth, a wedding, a special wedding anniversary, a significant birthday (you know, one of those with a zero at the end of it) or something similar? Why not prepare in advance?  Start gathering ideas, resources and advice now, rather than near the time.

I hope that this week’s podcasts, videos and other materials may help you to be well prepared for any moments of privilege which will come your way in the future.

Prayer requests

  • Please pray for me as I prepare the materials for the Watford teaching day which takes place on 29 February.
  • Please pray for the class I will be teaching for the Thames Valley churches of Christ this coming Friday 7th February. We’ll be looking at the theme of relationships from Matthew 5:21-48.
  • Please pray for my sermon for the Watford Church of Christ this coming Sunday 9th February. I’ve not yet chosen by text. Pray that I’ll pick something which will edify and encourage my heart and the hearts of all those present.

Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching. I hope my uploads will help you to have beatitude-infused conversations this week.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm