Parking in the city is always a challenge. On this occasion it had made me late for a funeral service. When I arrived the service was already started. Not wanting to walk in and possibly distract the mourners who were settled to listen to the eulogy, I found a seat in the foyer/coffee lounge where I could hear but not see the speaker.
I found myself looking out into a reasonably busy street with no shortage of vehicles and pedestrians. People walking dogs, students on bicycles, a builder’s lorry trying to squeeze through a narrow entrance between parked cars. The noise they made was distant and muffled, unlike the speaker’s voice which was crystal clear as he eloquently paid tribute to someone who had apparently been a close friend for almost sixty years.
His talk was well-prepared and beautifully delivered, warm hearted and humorous in places. The deceased gentleman had obviously been a colourful character. The words being spoken conjured pictures of boating, biking and climbing mountains with family and friends and also prompted serious thoughts on life and death, example, legacy, faith. Outside, workmen were unloading a wheelbarrow and bags of cement. At the bus stop across the road a man stretched and yawned while a lady in a floral dress seemed animated, chatting on her mobile, her voice cut off by the heavy glass.
It was like watching a movie with the wrong soundtrack.
Two worlds right beside each other, not unrelated, but each oblivious of the other. Both real, just focussed on different things, presently unaware of reality outside of their own limited sphere. It seemed to illustrate an old cliché, ‘There’s more to life than meets the eye’!
There’s a world outside our own small drama, intense as that may be. There are others with joys and sorrows, needs and aspirations. We do well to give all necessary attention to the bigger picture.
But if we listen carefully there’s also a 'voice inside', a voice of wisdom and truth that reminds us of that which is for now unseen. It both comforts and challenges, counselling us to remember our days are numbered and our lives witnessed by our Maker. We are surely foolish to doubt or neglect these deeper issues!
An older King Solomon concludes his reflection on life in Ecclesiastes 12 by urging us to ‘Remember our Creator’ while we have the opportunity and to obediently trust the One Who will judge all people everywhere.
This is more than surreal. This is crucial.
'I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the time of salvation.' (2 Corinthians 6 v 2)