Thursday, October 22, 2009


Today my father's sister's husband died. To me he was a shepherd, one of few, always a rock and a pillar around which I clung as a child when in need of consolation. For he always attempted to be cheerful, and yet he was always firm about what ought to be, and what ought not to be; to a child, these are powerful things. He too was a teacher, in many ways and to many people.

I am persuaded that he — like a great ship of war in times of war, a great ship of trade in times of peace — has come to anchor at last in a safe and secure harbour. It was a harbour he had always sought, like a pilot seeks the light of port, whether in tower or lighthouse or burning beacon of flame. In the epistle to the Hebrews it is said, "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast — and which (the soul) enters into that (hope) within the veil."

I think of bagpipes and comfort, I think of the shepherd who enters into the shepherd's rest, I think of how good it was to see him last, and as a Christian, how good it will be to see him again. Goodbye uncle, not only adieu, but au revoir. For that is the hope in which we live.

The first hymn I thought of is the one I shall reproduce below, in memory of my uncle's life:

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

    We have an anchor that keeps the soul
    Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
    Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
    Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Saviour’s hand;
And the cables, passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy that blast, thro’ strength divine.


It will surely hold in the Straits of Fear—
When the breakers have told that the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.


It will firmly hold in the Floods of Death—
When the waters cold chill our latest breath,
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the Veil.


When our eyes behold through the gath’ring night
The city of gold, our harbour bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heav’nly shore,
With the storms all past forevermore.


(Words by P J Owens, 1882)

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Blogger The Hierophant said...

Ai. My aunt's father-in-law just passed away as well. But at least he's no longer in pain.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:14:00 pm  

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