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Sunday 26th April 2020

Dear Friends,


A famous author commented last week that, whilst he and others find themselves ‘mildly affronted‘ when referred to as a herd, this would hold no problem for Christians ‘who like to refer to themselves as sheep in a flock’. ‘Herd immunity‘ may be something that, as followers of the Good Shepherd, we understand linguistically, but the concept (bound up in a utilitarian idea that some lives are worth less than others) is an alien one to good theology. There is no ‘us and them’ in the promulgation of the gospel, no separate clubs for the strongest and weakest: if all, like sheep, have gone astray, all will need rescuing. As the hymn puts it:

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me; 
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.
On this Sunday, of all Sundays, all roads lead back to Psalm 23. Unable to choose just one setting, I offer three beautiful paraphrases and arrangements of the text.

The first is Edward Bairstow’s elegiac hymn-anthem, easily recognised as The King of love my shepherd is Click here to listen

The second, to Anglican Chant and sung by the choir of Hereford Cathedral, is balm for the weary soul Click here to listen

The third, an excerpt from John Rutter’s larger Requiem, speaks confidently of resurrection hope at the end of life. Click here to listen
May is Mary’s month. I have been returning in recent weeks to that beautiful title of our Blessed Lady as undoer of knots. We know that her ‘yes’ to God on that bright day of the Annunciation began the work that undid the first sin of Adam and Eve and by which our redemption has been won. We are also aware, not least in these strange weeks, of the knots that exist within individual lives and communal living - how they can burden the soul and separate us from God. In Eastertide, the untidy nature of our daily life comes face to face with the inescapable joy and unboundedness of resurrection life that Blessed Mary, Our Lady of Victories, even now experiences in the eternal presence of her son and saviour. There she prays for us, where knots are loosed and the only thing bound is sin. You can listen to a favourite Marian hymn by clicking here
With love,
Our Lady, S.Pancras and all the Saints Pray For Us
Copyright © 2020 Parish of Old St Pancras, All rights reserved.

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