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19/04/2019

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with the Bishop of Ripon, Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with the Bishop of Ripon, Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley

Good morning. ‘Good’ is the word of the day because this is Good Friday. Although today is about Jesus’ brutal death on the cross, we look ahead to the joy of Sunday, and the resurrection (or maybe it’s just the chocolate eggs you’re anticipating).

Many of the farmers I know are well into lambing season; some have even finished. I spent a day on a farm recently, and got to see and experience lambing in all its highs and lows. Sadly the story doesn’t always end with lambs jumping around the fields. I was in a trailer with two ewes and their dead lambs as we transported them back to the shed. As we made our way through the fields we saw ewes who were yet to lamb, and some who had given birth, and who looked a bit surprised. Back in the barn I helped get the ewes out of the trailer as the farmer placed the dead lambs to one side with great care. A bull munched on straw in the corner, and all around lambs bleated for milk and wiggled their tails in delight when they found its source. All the while, a ewe strained to give birth to her second lamb whilst busily licking the other one clean, and had to be helped (the lamb came out backwards).

It was a scene that was full of life in all its messiness and noise. Though I had on balance seen more death, the exuberance of new life held it in sharp relief. If today is filled with sadness and emptiness, light and hope lie just around the corner.

Risen God you hold death and life in the palm of your hand. Sustain us in times of fear and anxiety, that we might experience again new life in you. Amen.

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