Verses pertaining to children were read from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 18. “Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of the heavens.” Father Ned referred to those lines as he talked about a very pleasant few hours he had spent minding and playing with his nieces and nephews, who were totally engrossed in the enjoyment of the moment. He imagined that if children were here in the graveyard, they would “roll in the grass, and walk on the graves, and sit on the kerbs or flat headstones.” They would not distinguish between rank or class, race or religion, human or animal, but would instead find everything fascinating. Would that we could retain some of the acceptance, innocence and sense of wonder of the young - as today’s gospel invites us to do.
Referring to the meteoric shower of the previous night, Father Ned said that the world and all of us were conceived in a “flaring forth of love and life and light and energy.” To quote William Blake:“The angel that presided o’re our birth said:
Go love without the help of anything on earth.’”
We were reminded of the people who inhabited and worked on this hill before us – the Gatherer Hunters, the Celts who worshipped the human head, an example of which still exists today in the form of ‘Mother Brown.’ The remains of Christian liosanna are still visible here. We who now live here remember them all as we gaze at the same beautiful landscape which they enjoyed – Cnoc an Aifrinn, Na Cumaraigh, the woods, the glens, and the farms now being lit by the bright, piercing rays of the evening sun.
The service draws to a close and all we hear now is murmured conversation and the singing of the birds as we file out the gate. “We think of sheep and shepherd, lost and found, greatest and least. God save all here. Amen.”