On Sunday 19th June it is the annual memorial service at Carmountside Cemetery and Crematorium here in Stoke-on-Trent. Again I have been asked to lead the service. Here is my homily.
Homily Love does not come to an end.
So many things change throughout our lives - often things we do not expect.
We move house, and sometimes town or even country. Make and break friendships. Change jobs and occupations. We see dreams come to nothing and things we never imagined would happen come to pass. We are surprised by joy and disappointed by frustrated expectations. So many things change in this life and take us unawares.
Yet there is one thing which we can say for sure. For ever person standing here and for every person who has gone before us. And that is that it will come to an end. Death is a reality for everyone of us: for those we remember today, and for us who remember them. We have felt it, like the closing of a heavy door, when in this very place we have paid our respects and made our farewells.
It is perhaps a gloomy thought. But it need not be. Because, though our earthly life may end - in the words of St Paul - Love does not. Love lasts for ever.
This might seem to some just wishful thinking and the clutching of straws, empty comfort for those who are afraid of the dark (as a famous scientist said recently). They are entitled to their points of view.
But we are here because we believe something else. Whether we are deeply religious or still puzzle about the big questions of life - we are here because we believe that death is an end, but not the end, a leave-taking but not a parting of the ways, a separation but for a time only.
For the bond of Love is just too strong, Just too great for those ceremonies of farewell that we made here to be the closing of a door so heavy that it can never open again.
Love does not come to an end. And the love that we express today in our remembering gives us cause to hope in an even Greater Love that will roll away the store, open the door, and finally, together, gather us all.