Saturday 4th April

April 4th

No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

John Donne (1572-1631) Devotions upon emergent occasions and several steps in my sickness. Meditation XVII. 1624.


‘Any man’s death diminishes me’. Yesterday I was taking a funeral, a burial in a churchyard,
as the church is closed. And only the close family were present. One hopes for a better time
when there will be a memorial service.


When people are dying alone in hospital during this pandemic, close family not allowed into
attend, can one still say, with John Donne, ‘no man is an island entire of itself…’ ?
Was Jesus alone when he was buried; the rules to be kept to, and permission asked? No.
Jesus was loved; still ‘a piece of the continent’.


38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one
because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate
gave him permission; so he came and removed his body.  39 Nicodemus, who had at first come
to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a
hundred pounds.  40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths,
according to the burial custom of the Jews.  41 Now there was a garden in the place where he
was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been
laid.  42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they
laid Jesus there.
John 19. 38-end
 

Please remember in your prayers
 The bereaved
 Those who prepare and bury bodies
 Those who love and grieve from afar

Poem. The Existence of Love Marjorie Pizer
I had thought that your death
Was a waste and a destruction,
A pain of grief hardly to be endured.
I am only beginning to learn
That your life was a gift and a growing
And a loving left with me.
The desperation of death
Destroyed the existence of love,
But the fact of death
Cannot destroy what has been given.
I am learning to look at your life again
Instead of your death and your departing.

Romans 8.38,39
38 I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor
things to come, nor powers,  39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.


2 In the grave they laid Him, Love who had been slain,
thinking that never he would wake again,
laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: 
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.


3 Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain,
quick from the dead the risen One is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.


4 When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus' touch can call us back to life again,
fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: 
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

J.M.C. Crum (1872-1958)

First and last verse of “Fernhill” by Dylan Thomas (from Deaths and Entrances 1945)
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
     In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
     I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
     Though I sang in my chains like the sea.


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