Monsignor Tony Rogers
Good morning. All funerals will include different elements. Everyone will have past memories and present emotions, and some will also have faith in what is to come. Memories, emotions and faith are mixed, and this will undoubtedly be true for today’s funeral of Baroness Thatcher. Because the past and the present evoke strong feelings, it is quite possible that faith can be eclipsed – and indeed confused.
We know that as a child Margaret Roberts was taken to her family’s Methodist Church in Grantham, where her father was a local preacher. Once as prime minister she addressed the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and spoke of the way in which her childhood experience of Methodism had influenced her adult faith. One of her close aides remarked that the press office had more requests for reprints than any other speech she gave.
In this Easter season, Christians are reminded time and again that it is the resurrection of Jesus that is the basis of our hope that, in death, life is changed not ended. Funeral rites also remind us that God is merciful, and alone knows the secrets of our hearts. Whatever our judgement on anyone’s life, it is so important that, today, we let God be God, and also that we have room in our hearts for Baroness Thatcher’s family and friends as they prepare for her final journey in this life. Let’s draw a word of inspiration in a prayer from Methodism’s founder, John Wesley.
O merciful Father,
do not consider what we have done against You;
but what our blessed Saviour has done for us.
Don’t consider what we have made of ourselves,
but what He is making of us for You our God. Amen.