Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday reflection spot

There is a memorial stone on the wall of St James' church Whitehaven, in a position which makes it almost impossible for me not to see it on my way back to the pew after taking communion when I worship there.

It was erected in his memory by the grieving parents of Alexander Hammond, a young man from Whitehaven who was aged twenty when he was on board a barque called Swallow which sailed on 15th July 1840 and was never heard from again. The ship was assumed to have been lost with the loss of everyone on board, but nobody in Whitehaven ever found out exactly what happened.

This week my family are mourning the death of a much loved relative, but she died rich in years and peacefully in her sleep. I cannot imagine how much worse it must have been for the families of Alexander Hammond and everyone else on the Swallow and other ships which were lost without trace. But I know it must have been truly terrible for them.

We are fortunate enough to live in an age when such mysterious disappearances are very rare indeed and when one does happen - Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 - is the only comparable case which springs to mind this century - people from every major power in the world start looking for the missing plane or ship.

But such things can still happen.

In his sermon this morning the Revd. Rob Jackson quoted from Helen Keller's book "Three days to see" in which she advised sighted people to value their eyes and live as if they might lose their sight tomorrow.

It is equally true that all of us should try to live each day as if it might be our last. Not that this should make us afraid to do things - quite the contrary. But because all human life is of limited span in a world of unlimited wonder, and deserves to be properly valued.

No comments: