Reflection for Friday 21st April 2022

Nigel Price

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Today I have chosen the Psalm that is set for the day, just a few verses from Psalm 118.

Psalm 118.1-4, 22-26 (NRSV)

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his steadfast love endures for ever!

Let Israel say,
   ‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
Let the house of Aaron say,
   ‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
Let those who fear the Lord say,
   ‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’

The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
   it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
   We bless you from the house of the Lord.

Reflection

There are some familiar phrases there.  ‘His steadfast love endures for ever!’

This afternoon I am interring some ashes in St Mary’s Churchyard.  Someone is going to read the poem ‘Gone from my sight’.  If you are not familiar with it, ‘Google’ it and have a read.  It is a particularly apt allegory of death for the inhabitants of a village that sits on the estuary.  I don’t know if you have ever paused at the top of the ‘Lookout’ to look west, over Lundy, with nothing but sea between you and America.  So the thought of one of the old clippers setting off from Appledore, cheered as she goes, to be later greeted by more cheers on arrival on the other side of the Atlantic is a good way of describing death.

On such occasions I usually remind people that nothing is stronger than love.  Not even death can overcome it – Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? – just because we can no longer see our loved ones, we do not stop loving them.  And in the same way, just because someone has crossed that thin divide between life and death, they do not stop loving.

And to top it all we have the love of God that endures for ever.

This is the day the Lord has made – do not waste it, it is God’s gift to you, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.

And so we pray the Collect:

The Collect (Additional)

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen