At the time of writing, we are preparing for the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth and the news is full of pageantry and eulogising. At the time of reading, I don’t know, but it may feel like all that is long gone and although we may share memories still, most of us are getting on with the new era by now. How quickly we move on, not least because there are things to do, like preparing for our Harvest Thanksgivings which if you didn’t attend, have probably happened already! Of course, the church has special days and seasons for remembering the past, and as it happens, this month we will be preparing for Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day services. Remembering the past is very important. Learning from the past, more important still. All Saints and All Souls are days we celebrate the great deeds and lives of those who have died and one of the things we learn from this is that our days also are numbered and it’s good to be prepared.
Over the last few years I’d been working with my dad to help sort out his financial affairs so that now he can’t do it any more, it isn’t too complicated for the family to deal with. We have realised that it would have been better to think before now about gifts so that they don’t become taxable! Still, he’s doing what he can and I’m glad he has such a character as to want to think about it. The modern age we live in is unusual for not really having death as an ever present reality in our homes and it means that we don’t think about it much, but it’s been a good exercise to think about practicalities while my dad is still able to talk about them. If you have never talked with your children or, if you have no children, your friends, about what you want to happen if ever you can’t manage, then doing it sooner rather than later is better!
My dad has been able to think about gift aiding his giving to his church while he still pays tax, and even about making provision for a legacy when his great day comes. He has found it a relief to be able to do something practical to begin to sort out his affairs in advance, and I am thankful to God that although we have not been able to help with the physical effects of his ageing, we have been able to give him the gift of some peace of mind all the same.
So whether your mind is full of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III, Harvest Thanksgivings, or All Saints/All Souls’ Day, nurture yourself with thankfulness for God’s provision, comfort in times of loss, and the hope for the future made known in Jesus Christ.