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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, August 31, 2002
    Death is for making us wonder what life is
    Enjoying listening to Martin Wroe and Lies Damned Lies' cd Life, Death, God today. Martin's meditations set to music featuring many different narrative voices, has a very in-house feel (Meg's designed the cover, son Wesley features on one track as does Charlie Irvine jnr on another). But it's ok having meditations which are home grown, as all the best liturgy is. Contextual.

    Struck especially by 'Death is', which has the refrain, 'Death is for making us wonder what life is'. Which is so true because at the point of death everyone affected is brought out of the humdrum into a place of encounter, enlightenment, or trauma where the 'big' questions loom large all of a sudden.

    Watching a tape of last week's Six Feet Under with these thoughts in mind, helped me engage with it some more. 'Death is for making us wonder what life is' could almost be the subtitle of this series which is distinctive because the soap opera of the characters lives is played out in the light of death, not the most attractive subject for high-profile TV. In the mortuary people have conversations with the deceased, whose particular stories rub up against those still alive, in the funeral parlour lounge families say what they've never before spoken about themselves.

    Six Feet Under has fewer hints of heaven than Martin's meditation, but nevertheless it's good TV for it doesn't trivialise death, it explores it and life with it. In death there is depth.