Knockbride church, in the middle of rural Ireland, has the most idyllic setting that you could imagine. It was here today that a huge gathering of Alan Matchett's family, friends, parishioners and neighbours gathered to say our last farewells. A sad occasion, an unbelievable one, and yet numerous wonderful memories of his unique personality. There were many stories of Alan and the things he said and the way that he said them, texts that he sent and the wisdom that he had. Married to Lisa last Tuesday, 20th April and buried today, 26th April. More than one person said, "I can't take it in".
God of all consolation,
whose Son Jesus Christ was moved to tears
at the grave of Lazarus his friend.
Look with compassion on us your children in our loss;
give to our troubled hearts the light of hope,
and strengthen in us the gift of faith,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
From the church the view is beautiful.
A quiet place. Hardly a sound and no noise pollution at all. It makes tangible the phrase, "Rest in Peace". It is, I feel, one of those "thin places" where the dividing line between this world and the next is a very vague one.
The border between Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland is a bit like that! This photograph is taken from my car which is still in the south.... the white van is in the north! You can tell by the colour of the line along the side of the road - yellow in the Republic of Ireland and white in Northern Ireland. A "thin place" between the two jurisdictions.
Although the border is a very narrow place there are many differences between the two countries. The road surface in the south is considerably better. They use kilometres and speed limits are kph. In the north we use miles and mph. Petrol is cheaper in the south as well! ... and that's just for a start!
Good night for now.
God be in my head, and in my understanding.
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking.
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking.
God be in my heart, and in my thinking.
God be at mine end, and at my departing. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer.