11 April 2020

On Good Friday the government shut everything “so that the stores could be restocked”. Not because they had closed the churches, and on the day we recall the death of Christ it is good to rest.

The town was silent. We could hear any traffic from a mile away. We were able to rest. For us, it is also a day we recall Kea’s father, a great Anglican layman, who now rests. For blessed are those who die in Christ: they rest, and they become part of the cloud of witnesses that encourage us.

Lamentations 3:19-24

19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
20 Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Psalm 31:1-4

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

31 In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
4 You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.

1 Peter 4:1-8

4 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

This world uses the emotional currency of fear and offence and guilt: they have lost the ideas of beauty, truth, or the good. The currency within the church should be love: by this we do not mean that we hurt each other or live by our infatuations, but that we aim to live for each other, putting their best interests before our own.

In that is honour, truth and beauty. Do not be as in this world. Do not attempt to be like them.