Friday, March 17, 2017

Death and Lent

In a sense death stalks Lent. We joke about giving up chocolate for Lent but Lent is a season precisely because Jesus gave up his life. At the end of Lent Jesus dies. And giving up chocolate is merely symbolic of the deeper giving up of our own lives to follow Christ. Only in giving up our lives now, the gospel says, in taking up our cross daily, are we ready for our own dying, whenever that may be.

I want to welcome Ron Hay's blog Castle Hill Musings to my ADU sidebar. Ron is an actively retired priest in our Diocese who lives at Castle Hill (when not actively helping out parishes elsewhere), as beautiful a part of Canterbury as you can find anywhere else in our fair province.

But his latest post is poignant, recounting the lives of two friends who have died. Many people in Christchurch/Canterbury knew Jeremy Clark and Tim Pidsley. I wasn't able to get to the memorial service for Jeremy but I am told over 300 people were present - remarkable for someone who has lived in england for a long time!

Praise God death does not have the last word over life! Ron's post ends with our Christian hope, the hope that comes because Lent gives way to Easter:

"With the loss of Jeremy and Tim, the world seems a poorer place. Yet the quality of their lives and the reality of their faith were such that I am convinced that death does not have the last word over them.  At Jeremy’s service, his father read the well-known passage from John 11 in which Jesus comes to Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus has died and says: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). I’m a Christian because I believe that Christ, not death, has the final word over human destiny."


Andrei said...

Lent is a lot more than "giving up chocolate" - it is a time of self reflection and personal examination as preparation for Easter

The Fast recalls the Forty Days that Jesus Christ spent fasting in the Desert after his Baptism and his resisting the temptations of the devil

The Orthodox rules for fasting are very austere but also almost impossible for anyone other than a monastic to strictly adhere to

Like everything we do as we follow the liturgical life of the Church it is a learning opportunity and a preparation for the life to come

Easter or Pascha of course is a joyful celebration of the resurrection and the life to come

Are you familiar with the Homily of St John Chrysostom?

It goes well with the theme of this post

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Andrei!
I will store up that homily for an Easter Day post :)

BrianR said...

It's fantastic and there are some great "renditions" of it on youtube. I've long wanted to say it (or play it) at an Easter service; the most I've done is quote it.

(On the subject of Chrysostom, I enjoyed a short youtube posting by my sometime acquaintance Carl Trueman of Westminster Seminary Philadelphia on Chrysostom's 'On the Priesthood' which prompted me to put that on my must-read list as well.)

Backvto music: 'Phos Hilaron' is terrific for an evening service as well. There is a wonderful version in Arabic on youtube.

Andrei, did you post a link once to something sung by a small group of Russian soldiers? I seem to recall something but not its name.

Andrei said...

"Andrei, did you post a link once to something sung by a small group of Russian soldiers? I seem to recall something but not its name."

I had forgotten that until you reminded me - it was on a post about Evensong and it was Свете тихий (Svete Tikiy)= Phos Hilaron = Holy Light. The Anglican version is called O Gladsome Light - I guess you actually knew that but to align everything and to emphasise our shared Christian heritage that unites rather than divides

BrianR said...


BrianR said...

I want to be "actively retired" one day too! In fact I'm (not) working on it now ...