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Posts Tagged ‘curse’

Last year I blogged a few times last year about things that help me when I have a messy head. And I don’t think my head is any less messy twelve months on. Some situations have sorted themselves out, others rumble on, some are new, and rather larger than I was expecting to face – a global pandemic, for instance. So I continue using hacks that help – crochet and collects, being outside and time with Jesus, obvs. And I have a few others up my sleeve too.

When all is confused, I like to enjoy tales that end happily ever after. So I turn to stories that remind me of the best story of all time, where the hero kills the dragon and gets the girl, as Glen Scrivener puts it. Stories that remind me of the triumph of good over evil, of the reality that there will no longer be any curse.

Photo by Plato Terentev on Pexels.com

So in these recent months I’ve returned to Jane Austen, rereading through the whole collection (I’m sure that plenty of us would call Lady Catherine DeBurgh a dragon). But, for a change, I’ve listened to the stories on Spotify along with reading the books. And we’ve tuned to detective drama on Netflix. Nothing fancy, but stories with solutions. Today’s solution was in a series of Whitechapel. Where do you find satisfying story endings?

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This evening we met at church for an Ash Wednesday service. In previous years, we have had ashing. And on one notorious occasion the Vicar managed to burn my forehead with incorrectly mixed ashes.

This year, with the need for social distancing, the Vicar, like several others, has decided to return to the older liturgy of the Church of England, and lead a service known as A Commination (The Confession of Cursed Sinners). We used a modern, shortened version, provided by Church Society. The original 1662 one is in the Book of Common Prayer.

The service is not all that popular in the Church of England. People find it quite harsh, because it reminds us of all the things that God does not like – that are under his curse. It is a painful exercise, to remind ourselves of our sinfulness and the ways in which we break God’s laws and reject his rule in our lives. But the phrase that struck me the evening, as we went through the service was towards the end of the confession:

and so make haste to help us in this world,
that we may ever live with you in the world to come,
where there will no longer be any curse

That reminder that there will ‘not longer be any curse’ is so helpful to carry out of a service of penitence and mourning for sin. The promise that we will be free of the heaviness we feel when we think of the Lord’s standards and the way we fail to keep them. To remember that

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us

As I was looking for pretty pictures to illustate this post, I came across a poem by Wordsworth. It seems that The Commination wasn’t popular even in his day. But he too realised that this service where we contemplate the darkness of our sin is needed, that we should deal with our guilt and seek pardon from the Lord. So my prayer this Lent is that I would have that fruit of peace and love and joy as I thank Jesus that there will no longer be any curse.

Ecclesiastical Sonnets – Part Iii. – Xxix – The Commination Service
Shun not this Rite, neglected, yea abhorred,
By some of unreflecting mind, as calling
Man to curse man, (thought monstrous and appalling.)
Go thou and hear the threatenings of the Lord;
Listening within his Temple see his sword
Unsheathed in wrath to strike the offender’s head,
Thy own, if sorrow for thy sin be dead,
Guilt unrepented, pardon unimplored.
Two aspects bears Truth needful for salvation;
Who knows not ‘that?’ yet would this delicate age
Look only on the Gospel’s brighter page:
Let light and dark duly our thoughts employ;
So shall the fearful words of Commination
Yield timely fruit of peace and love and joy.

William Wordsworth

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