Sunday, 9 March 2008


It's Terry's funeral on Tuesday. I don't think I'll be going - it's a work day, and Terry isn't - wasn't - a relative.

He wasn't even a friend. He didn't know my name: sometimes he'd call me Sue, more often Ann. Yet he was family. He was a member of our church, a fellow Christian.

Terry lived, in many ways, a sad life. He had special needs: he didn't really 'fit in'. He found it hard to hold down a job. His home life was difficult and he worried and sorrowed over the other members of his family, especially his mother. She has outlived both her sons: Terry's brother died, also of cancer, just a few months ago.

Yet Terry is now at peace and enjoying the perfection of heaven. His faith seemed unwavering. He attended church with unfailing devotion. He stood up frequently to pray during the services. And, when Jonny and Cat were working overseas, he never missed an opportunity to tell me he was praying for 'those two of yours...doing that good work'.

My enduring memory of Terry will not be of the way he would sidle round the church, eyeing up the next person to receive his confidences; nor of the aura of cigarettes which hung around him - the very cigarettes which led to his cancer. No, my memory of Terry is truly beautiful. A reminder of how God, as when he chose David to be king, does not look at outward appearances, but at the heart.

I was up on the balcony during the morning service. There below me, on the other side of the church, was Terry. His shoulders were hunched as he stood, stooping, in his pew. It was a couple of months before his death and already he looked frail and ill. Yet this could not stop him expressing his joy at being in the Lord's presence. I was humbled as I watched him throw his arms up in worship, his face expressing both his misery and his love of God. He was completely lost in God's presence, a forerunner of where he is now.

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