My doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone so that means whoever is there might be a pleasure or not. When I say ‘not’ I mean salespeople, who I know have to make a living, but sometimes it is just annoying. Through the glass I could see an elderly couple – strangers. In the few seconds it took me to get to the door things go through your mind…
- They want food.
- They want money.
- They want the guest-house down the road which has no sign.
- They want to tell me about Jesus.
- They want to join the church (I’ve never actually had any of those but I live in hope).
- They want to sell me something.
This couple didn’t seem to fit into any of these categories as far as I could guess. The elderly gentleman introduced himself and told me he wanted to ask me a question. Uh-oh. Do I invite them in? Or is this safer on the doorstep? Opted for doorstep. And his question?
Will you bury me?
What? Right now?
It turns out he used to be a member of Christ Church but stopped going some years ago. But he was worried, as he got older and his health deteriorated, that there would be nobody to take his funeral. He had asked a previous rector who had agreed that he would do it but as he was passing and saw a new name on the board (I’ve been here 4 years!) he thought he’d better check.
I told him I’d be delighted to bury him. And yes, his wife too, although she didn’t look quite so enthusiastic. And I also told him that he could come back to church any time he liked. Neither looked very enthusiastic about that.
It is a funny old world, right enough.