Wednesday 13 October 

A man died and found himself at the gates of heaven, where the Lord came to him and said ‘Let me show you the tapestry of your life’. And there in front of him was a great tapestry. The man looked and began to weep. In front of him the tapestry of his life was a jumble of loose threads, and frayed ends, ‘Why is my life like this?’ he asked.

‘Ah no, you don’t understand’, said the Lord, ‘we’re looking at the back of the tapestry’.

The Lord took his hand and led him around to the front and there before him was the tapestry of his life, crystal clear, from beginning to end, with colour and shape, with light and shade, and across and through it all ran a golden thread, and the golden thread was God’s love, and all the love that the man had ever known or shown or shared. ‘Now I see,’ he said, ‘now I understand.’ And the Lord said, ‘Welcome home, my precious child.’

It’s always so hard to say farewell to someone that we have loved, someone that we’ve relied on, looked up to, admired.

In our reading from St John’s gospel we heard Jesus preparing his friends for his departure. That he will die. He will rise again and return to heaven, leaving

them to carry on his work. Jesus seeks to reassure his friends and gives them this wonderful promise. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,’ he says. ‘In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places….I go to prepare a place for you…so that where I am, you may be too.’ The Christian faith teaches us to have a sure and certain hope that we have a place in eternity. Christ prepares for us an eternal home and our eternal home is heaven.

And here on earth, the places where we find security and love are a foretaste of our eternal home in heaven, where we are known fully and loved completely. And we will know as we are known. St Paul teaches us, with beautiful simplicity ‘for now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.’

I pray that this sure and certain hope will be a comfort, a strength and a stay in the days and weeks ahead, as we mourn the loss of this great man, Matt Holmes. As we remember with love and respect all that was pure gold in his life of love for his family and for his comrades and in his life of service to nation in the Royal Marines.

May God bless us all with this sure and certain hope, that love never dies and that one day we will hear these words, ‘Welcome home, my precious child.’ Amen.