This homily was given by Taemin Oh, a final year ordinand, at Evening Prayer on Monday 14th March 2011;
‘Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.’
Last Wednesday, we all received the sign of cross - the symbol of humanity, our sins, our life, and our death. We, as God’s creatures, should be aware of the fact that the last thing we will encounter is death. Regardless of who you are or what you have, all human beings are subject to death and shall return to dust.
Yet, for us, dust does not just mean the end of our life. Rather, dust gives us hope; hope for resurrection, hope for our salvation, and most of all, hope for the world to come, through Jesus Christ. Therefore, Ash Wednesday was not just the day of reminding us of our sins, but the day of desiring the grace of God and reunion with Him.
As our life is always full of ‘comings and goings’ or ‘ups and downs’, my life also has many days to be remembered. As a final year student, part of such rich memories are about to fade away into history. In the next term, all leavers, including me, will be sent out to the world, to serve not to be served, to witness God’s love and to proclaim the Gospel. And soon, God willing, we will be swamped by the huge amount of parish work, and eventually, we will be forgotten from each other’s memories.
However, it may be that we will see each other again soon, and some of us may meet often. We may come back to the House for a Staggers’ reunion, or any other special occasion. However, I am not sure whether we, as a whole, can be in the one place again as we are in this chapel today.
Gerald Charles Perkins.
Edward Stuart Churchill Lennard.
Cyril George Woolley.
William George Herbert Gater.
Do you recall anything on hearing these names? Is any one of these names familiar to you?
These names are actually to be found on the walls of this chapel - just right in front of you – all 144 names are carved in the wall. Once, all these people spent some time together here, and once, all became dust.
Yet, I do believe all are now in the full communion with God, and also believe that it will be our true reunion when our names are carved in the wall, in this chapel, side-by-side.
‘Life is short; death is certain; and the world to come is everlasting’ says John Henry Newman.
We are still young (-ish) and still we have many things to do before we become dust. However, as Newman says in one of his Advent sermons, ‘Christ’s coming is ever nearer than it was. O that, as he comes nearer earth, we may approach nearer heaven!’
Day passes after day, silently and we are approaching the end of Hilary term. Therefore, this Lenten period should be the time for us to pray for each other, and ask God’s pardon and mercy be upon ourselves and others, so that we all partake in the glory of heavenly reunion.
Let us pray…
May the God of all love,
who is the source of our affection
for each other formed here,
take our friendships into his keeping,
that they may continue and increase
throughout life and beyond it,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, Who art everywhere present,
look down with thy mercy upon those who are absent from among us.
Give thy holy angels charge over them,
and grant that they may be kept safe in body, soul and spirit,
and presented faultless before the presence of thy glory with exceeding joy;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.