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MARCH 2019

Dear All,
It's been almost a year since I was inducted as minister at Fairlie Parish Church and Largs: St Columba's, and how the year has passed. However, the passage of time has been focussed all the more with the number of bereavements that are affecting families within the village. Throughout life we will all experience the death of a friend or a loved one, and for those who grieve life can be unbearable. Yet everyone knows that they have to, somehow, pick up the pieces of life and carry on. Grief is not one of these things which is predictable but inevitable and can last for many years. And you never 'get over' someone's death; you learn to live with the pain of the loss.

For those who currently grieve I would offer only one word of thought: the pain you are experiencing, whether through the loss of a loved one recently or many years ago, is great because the love that you shared together before your loss was so great. When taking a funeral, I always tell families and friends that, because of the death of their loved one, life will never be the same again. But that is exactly how it should be.

The reason life will never be the same again is because the person we have loved and lost has made such an impact on our life that life could never be the same again. And, somehow, in that knowledge we can know a little comfort. People grieve long and deeply because the love shared on earth was long and deep.

As the cliché says, there are only two things in life which are certain 'death and taxes.' Well, I can't give advice on taxes but I can give a little advice on living well on earth. Jesus was a man who treated people equally, no matter who they were. He spent time with those who were isolated, unwelcomed by others, unpopular and vulnerable. And, by doing so, He gave us a good map to follow because how we treat others in life is how we will be remembered. What we remember of Jesus' life is the love of God which He shared with those in greatest need. And, after His crucifixion, on the day we call Good Friday, the people around Him grieved deeply. Life for them was certainly never the same again. However, hope was not lost. For three days later, on the Sunday morning, those who went to His grave found it empty. Jesus had risen from the dead.

In the days following His resurrection, Jesus promised those who believed in Him eternal life. And that is the hope that we can live with on earth and which can give solace to the pain of bereavement. As we come into the time of Lent, when we prepare for Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Day, I hope that the promise of eternal life can bring you a little peace and a great deal of hope for how to live well today, whether or not you are currently grieving.

If you fell that you would like to speak about the death of a loved one, please just give me a call and I'll make myself available to you.
With every blessing.
Yours in Christ.