Encouragement for the Journey
Greetings fellow traveller,
Today is Mother’s Day, a day that holds many memories and thoughts, some are tinged with sadness while others bring a smile to our faces. We come, just as we are, with our hopes and fears, our many questions, and our grief. We exclude nothing, for all that we are is welcomed in this sacred place as part of our worship this morning.
We come this morning in our grief and mourning for Liz. We feel very raw and tender and still find it difficult to comprehend the enormity and suddenness of her death. You reading this today may well have been at St George’s yesterday, to participate in that service of love and remembrance for Liz. You will have heard stories of her how she brought joy and love into the hearts of children and adults along the journey of her life.
Her sudden death is another precious reminder of the fragility of life, yet it still offers countless opportunities for making a difference for good in each other’s lives.
A story I told yesterday is about the Israeli violinist Yitzhak Perlman. He contracted polio at the age of 4, ever since, he has had to wear metal braces on his legs and walk with crutches, yet he became one of the great virtuosi of our time.
On one occasion, the story is told, he came out onto the stage at a concert to play a violin concerto. Laying down his crutches, he placed his violin under his chin and began tuning the instrument when with an audible crack, one of the strings broke. The audience were expecting him to send for another string, but instead he signalled the conductor to begin, and he proceeded to play the concerto entirely on three strings. At the end of the performance the audience gave him a standing ovation and called on him to speak. What he said, so the story goes, was this ‘Our task is to make music with what remains.’ That was a comment on more than a broken violin string. It was a comment on his paralysis and on all that is broken in life.
Liz would often repeat this story back to me, when something unexpectedly happened. Her positive and encouraging creative faith continually shone through. We have been truly blessed by her loving creative presence among us. For that we may offer our heartfelt thankfulness in the midst of our grieving.
We will honour Liz’s memory by making music with what remains.