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Book Reviews: Baptism & Confirmation & Patterns for Baptism

Book Reviews Baptism and Confirmation Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123522, 468pp, £40) Patterns for Baptism Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123492, 392pp, £25) These handsome volumes are the latest additions to Common Worship, the Church of...

The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ: Gospel-Driven Anglicanism

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ  The American Theologian and Pastor, Jonathan Edwards (1703 -1758), once preached a sermon entitled “The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Jesus Christ”. The...

The Cancelling of the Creator

The Cancelling of the Creator The headline from a national newspaper popped up on my phone: “Daniel Radcliffe is surely the world’s most ungrateful man”. It’s not a title many would be scrambling to win for themselves, but the opinion-piece made the case. Daniel...

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen Melville-Knox Christian School Aberdeen officially opened on Monday 7th November after years of prayer, planning and organisation. We give thanks to the Lord that we have been able to reach this significant milestone;...

Barnabas Report: At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique

Barnabas Report At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique During October At least 21 Christians have been killed by Islamist extremists in violent attacks throughout October in northern Mozambique. Jihadists set fire to a church building and several houses in the...

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource  Sanctuary Foundation has been aiding those trying to offer assistance for those fleeing the war in Ukraine through its, “Homes for Ukraine” scheme.  The charity has been serving as a liaison by resourcing hosts and...

Annual Clive West Memorial Lecture Set for Belfast

Annual Clive West Trust Lecture Set for Belfast The 2022 Clive West Trust Lecture will take place on Thursday, 22 November at St Nicholas’ Church on the Lisburn Road in Belfast at 19:30. This year’s featured speaker is the Revd Dr Tim Ward.  Ward earned his PhD from...

Church of England Council Rejects Croft’s Position

Church of England Evangelical Council Rejects Croft’s Position In a press statement following the pronouncements of Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, the Church of England Evangelical Council repudiated the departure of biblical teaching advocated by Croft. It said,...

On Transubstantiation: Reformation Anglicanism

Reformation Anglicanism On Transubstantiation By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Transubstantiation became the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church at the Fourth Lateran Council that began, November 11, 1215. The Council of Trent in 1551 went on to confirm the...

Oxford Good Stewards Trust Announced in Response to Bishop of Oxford’s Revisionism

St Paul’s Banbury, Oxford Answers Bishop and Announces  The Oxford Good Stewards Trust The Revd Dan McGowan, Vicar of St Paul’s, Banbury in Oxford Diocese has answered Bishop Croft’s revisionist declarations about same-sex matters and announced the formation of The...

Pilgrim’s Process River of Death

Pilgrim’s Process

River of Death

By the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon

One of the most striking features of our culture is the closeting away of death. Many people today get to adulthood never having seen a person die – something that in previous generations would have been a normal part of homelife. Funeral services at crematoriums are carefully designed to shield mourners from the reality of death. At the most extreme spectrum of this the service can be turned into a Disney like experience, with superstitious new age mystical views of angels and light thrown in for good measure. It is far from uncommon for people to bemused at the waves of sadness which flow over them after a bereavement – medical treatment for depression replaces the age old recognition of the healthy reality of grief.

As Christians we should have sympathy for a culture that fears death – the end of this life and entrance to the next is a solemn matter. Christian in Pilgrim’s Process found crossing the river of death terrifying. Later in the story we read of how another believer feared death:  ‘Mr. Standfast … said, “This river has been a terror to many; yea, the thoughts of it also have often frightened me. The waters indeed are to the palate bitter, and to the stomach cold; yet I see myself now at the end of my journey; my toilsome days are ended.” Now his countenance changed; and after he had said, “Take me, for I come unto thee”, he ceased to be seen of them.’

Pilgrims do not seek the false comfort provided by secular culture’s avoidance or Disneyfication of the grave – but even we who know that Jesus is the good shepherd who will carry us home recognise that there is a serious enemy to be faced at the end of this life. Jesus has conquered that enemy, and in many ways all of this life is a preparation to wade across that river. As we comfort those who grieve, let us comfort them with the comfort Jesus has given us (2 Cor 1:4).

The Red Dr Peter Sanlon is the rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells.

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