This evening I attended a memorial service for those who have had miscarriages or still births in the recent past. The service was led by the chaplaincy team from the University Hospital of North Durham. A Catholic chaplain and an Anglican chaplain led a single service that carried the weight of many tensions and was a vehicle for the expression of grief. An incredibly powerful service; so much so that to analyse the service would be to do it an injustice.
What I will say is that I was immensely privileged to be at a service, I grieved with the other members of the congregation and I took great comfort in seeing two ordained priests bearing the tension, pain and integrity of the occasion on their shoulders.
The Anglican chaplain's homily followed the reading of 1 Corinthians 13 and began with words something like, ""I'm sorry but......", "I'm sorry but........", where ever and however we heard that phrase, it changed everything, whether we'd had an inkling that something was wrong, or that everything seemed to be going well, after hearing those words, everything changed."
I was broken by the sermon delivered beautifully and eloquently by Rev. Kevin Tromans, and from his opening words I was taken back to the scan room where Clare and I were told we'd miscarried. For all the pain, the grief and woe Christ was there. Christ was with us and our little one and Christ was with those who attended the memorial service.
What services like these do to the concept of 'mission' is twist it to breaking and stamp all over it. From special care baby units to mumblings in a lonely chapel 'mission' speaks more loudly for itself than can be imagined. I am being challenged in ways I hadn't expected to be. I have been convicted by the Holy Spirit to pray for the work of maternity wards and special care baby units and I intend to do so.