IN HIS HANDS
I stumbled across his funeral today. I didn’t even know he’d died.
I was making my way into the Abbey for a tinkle and saw a couple of hearses outside. I thought I could discreetly sidle down the North Aisle to the toilet when I bumped into the Verger just inside the door.
“Did you know him?” he asked. I reached for his service sheet to see that it was a former colleague whom I knew from when I worked there myself as Verger.
“Strewth!” I said. “I’m a bit shocked but not surprised”.
A had been one of the Servers there during my time. A Server is one of the participants in services. A usually wore a ceremonial white hassock and carried the cross behind the Vicar; or helped prepare the Communion tray.
But if God had called him, He wasn’t his Master. That was drink.
I never saw him drunk during a service but he always reeked of his fill from the night before. He had a lifelong fight against the bottle, in which, as the saying goes, “the bottle won every round”. If God was a strength to him, He wasn’t strong enough.
It is sad that this should define him now when his life was, no doubt, filled with so much other richness. But as Pepe the Sheep Shagger found to his cost, we don’t get to determine our own legacy.
For now though, he is clean. He is “in His hands”.