Last week we had a packed church for the funeral of a very dear and special lady. She had fought a brave fight against cancer but had finally been beaten.
She was much loved and her smile was generous to all and was a tremendous support and encouragement to many.
The service was truly a celebration of her life and there was a particularly upbeat feel to the whole affair.
We are celebrating Easter this weekend when we recall the events of two thousand years ago when Jesus was killed in a particularly barbarous fashion of being nailed to a cross.
The Romans began by using an upright post but by the time of Jesus had refined it with a crossbar which prolonged the agony.
It was definitely a cross.
Odd that it is the symbol Christians use, but the death of Jesus was special because he was special. Christians believe him to be God himself.
It’s a tough one to get your head around, but when you start investigating spiritual goings on you quickly realise that many things defy explanation.
So believing a man who lived two thousand years ago was the very expression of God is no more strange than people who remark an unusual event as being a message from a dead loved one, a sign from the other side.
That is an amazingly common belief.
But the icing on the cake comes on Easter Day with the belief that Jesus came back to life again!
It was a hard one to come to terms with for his friends then so we are definitely going to struggle with it.
But we have reports not easily faked that more than 500 people saw him at one time and St Paul on the Damascus Road was brought to his knees as his world turned upside down in meeting a man who he knew to have been dead.
The lady at church who died believed all of this.
She knew that she was on her way to meet him and that fact was known by all who visited her.
The funeral was a celebration of a person who had gone home. That strength of faith is not always apparent in every funeral so hope is more common than the certainty that was evident in this case.
The events we remember in our churches this weekend are not simply an excuse for a holiday and to eat more chocolate, but are the foundation for what we believe which colours and affects not just how we live day by day but also how we die.