Over the years there have been a lot of funerals here because this part of Cornwall has an aging population due to to the fact that people come here to retire . The young Cornish often go up country to work and then return here in later life to enjoy its glories.
Very often I find that people have made some plans for their funerals. Choosing their own hymns is common and is often very touching as they have chosen the same hymns as their spouses had.
Deciding which hymn is important to you is not problematic if you've had a life time in the church. When I chose the hymns to be sung at my ordination they contained favourites from college or school, things that for various reasons had acquired some significance at important points of my life.
So yesterday when the organist rang me up for my choices for Sunday she produced her own list of likely music...things I've opted for frequently over the years!
Jerusalem as everyone's old school hymn is popular as is All things bright and beautiful particularly for old ladies! This week though was the funeral of a farmer and the hymns reflected this.
When we arrived at "We plough the fields and scatter" there was an inevitability about the choice. We only sing it once a year at Harvest but I thought I knew it well. On singing it through yesterday I found I was stunned by the middle verse. Why I've never actually noticed these words before I really can't say but yesterday they struck a chord in my heart....for their simplicity as well as their beauty.
He only is the Maker
Of all things near and far
He paints the wayside flower
He lights the evening star
The winds and waves obey him
By Him the birds are fed
Much more to us, his children
He gives our daily bread.
Very simple , very beautiful words....they say it all really!