Sunday, December 21, 2008

It was the Worst of Times and it was the Best of Times

On this the fourth Sunday in Advent, we were given the gift of Fr. Dunbar's last sermon as our assistant priest. Entering into his second retirement at the end of this month, he was assigned sermon duty today. His sermon was a reprise of one given 4 years ago, but it had new meaning given the circumstances. He drew us into the story of Mary and Jesus with a different take on things. Jumping ahead to Jesus' words on the cross, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit," we were instructed that Jesus was saying well remembered words from Psalm 31 (which we might remember better if we did the Compline service regularly),

In te, Domine, speravi
In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame: *
deliver me in your righteousness.

Incline your ear to me; *
make haste to deliver me.

Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
for you are my crag and my stronghold; *
for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, *
for you are my tower of strength.

Into your hands I commend my spirit, *
for you have redeemed me,
O LORD, O God of truth.

Fr. Dunbar told us that the last verse was a bedtime prayer back in the day, and the presumption is that Mary played a role in being with the young Jesus as He said his prayers at night.

Fr. Dunbar talked about the pain and the pathos of the cross having to be held in the same thought as the triumph and victory of the cross. He did not talk about the pain and pathos of "Retirement," and how we need to remember it together with the triumph and victory of a job well done.

Well done, and good night,

"Chingford Parish Church Men's Choir sing Compline at Holy Trinity Tattershall, Lincolnshire on Thursday July 31st 2008. The conductor is Tom Cowhig, the cantor is Matthew Silverman, and the Vicar of Chingford Father Tom Page led the service."


  1. Clifford7:13 PM

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