Last week I went to the funeral of the friend I blogged about a couple weeks ago. The funeral was unlike one I’ve ever been to. There was a wide range of people at it. Some were staff, governors of prison, church-folk she’d met along the way. Most were ex-offenders, mates from inside, from gangs and from school days, telling stories of funny mishaps and times of naughtiness. All told with a degree of deep sadness as now there’s something missing because she isn’t here.
Yet being in this room with such a mix of people. The majority being those on the margins of society, who had no idea how to deal with their feelings & didn’t hide that as most do. They just cried loudly, then laughed loudly, then cried some more. Trying to do things in the right way, like adding the flowers to the coffin at the right time and crossing themselves in times of prayer yet not knowing if it’s how it should be done. I didn’t know either. Yet the open, vulnerable way of how this service went was a thing of messy beauty!
It made me feel again how much this world is in need of HOPE. I don’t know how we can get through things without it.
My hope for my girl is a firm belief that she is now with Jesus. Her younger brother wrote a beautiful poem describing how on the night my girl chose to leave this earth angels came and met her, they took her to heaven and he saw them laughing and celebrating, he asked why they were happy and they said because now she is in the arms of Jesus. It was longer and more detailed- I believe he had a vision and he didn’t even know it.
The people in this room are who Jesus came for. These women who are like children, unsure what to do or how to be. Who can be loud, crude, brash and pretty irritating-who make you feel uncomfortable. He came for them.
So I am to go to them. I want to never take my eyes off the poor, of those poor in spirit, those who are in real need of love. Though it makes me feel less secure and safe and in control- I’m not called to a safe life.
I’m not saying I’m going back into prison. I know I’m called to lead an awesome church with awesome people but we together will be going into prisons, into alleyways, into brothels and anywhere that makes us feel uncomfortable-to reach those He came to save.
I wrote a short ‘who he came for’ after the funeral as it was so on my heart.
No matter what goes on around us. We are bridge-builders with a message of HOPE and I pray we have the bravery and courage to GO..especially into places we feel totally out of our depth and uncomfortable!