The Rockin' Rev March 2020
An elderly woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. There was no time for delay. A sense of urgency came upon her as she began to get things ‘in order’
She contacted her local vicar. She wanted to discuss with him her final wishes. When it came to the details of the funeral service she told the vicar which songs she wanted sung and what scriptures she would like read
Everything to do with the funeral service was in order and the vicar got up to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important. "There's one more thing" she said excitedly. "What's that?" asked the vicar. The woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand". The vicar looked puzzled by the request and wasn't sure what to say
The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials, I always remember that when the pots from the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork”. Then they would bring out a velvety chocolate cake or a deep-dish apple pie. I liked the puddings best of all"
The woman continued as the vicar listened intently. "At my funeral service I want you to tell people that I'm going to be buried with a fork in my hand because it always reminded me that the best is yet to come"
The vicar's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of eternity than he did. She knew for certain that something better was coming
During his message at the funeral service, the vicar told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her
One of Christianity's key attributes is hope. This hope is based upon the promise of God to "make all things new"
Imagine a world without sickness, a world without pain, a world without cancer, a world without death. Imagine a world without terrorism and war, a world without poverty and injustice - this is "the new heaven and a new earth" of which the Bible speaks
Currently, heaven may be thought of as an entirely separate universe with its own space and time but able nonetheless to touch our universe, space and time. But this present order will not endure. A new order will emerge. Heaven will join earth and a whole new perfected universe will be established
Since coming across the story of that elderly lady I can never use a fork without being reminded that the best is yet to come
Rev Brian Hall
Vicar, St Andrew’s Church
as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine
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