Leonard Cohen, the singer, was in the news this week because he had written a letter to the woman who was his muse in the 1960s, Marianne, the ‘Bird on a Wire’ in his song, who died a couple of weeks ago. Before she died, he wrote this to her: 

“Well Marianne; it’s come to this time 

when we are really so old that our bodies are falling apart

And I think I will follow you very soon.

Know that I am so close behind you  

That if you stretch out your hand

I think you can reach mine. 

Goodbye, old friend. Endless love

See you down the road.”

I’m sure that this lovely poem will be read at funerals a lot in future. What I want to point out is that Leonard Cohen shared something which is at the heart of our Christian belief: that is, the ‘sure and certain hope’ of the resurrection to eternal life: that there is a life after death, and that we will, in some way, be reunited with those whom we love. 

St Paul recognised that this is all beyond human understanding. He wrote, ‘For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face.’ But because we know about Jesus, we have seen a glimpse of that resurrection to eternal life. Jesus was himself, somehow, raised from the dead. He was, clearly, not ghostly: remember the story of Doubting Thomas. ‘Touch me; feel me’, Jesus said. And Thomas did. He recognised that he was in the presence of God. 

It was a sign for us. I hope you will remember that, and that when you think about Marjorie, believe that like Leonard Cohen, if you stretch out your hand, you can reach hers.