Still thinking about Mark Ashton

I still can’t really come to grips with the death of Mark Ashton, of St. Andrew the Great in Cambridge.  There’s quite a few of his sermons in MP3 form on the church website, and I have been downloading them. 

Somehow this is painful too; because it brings home to me that there won’t be any more; the set is complete, the collection final.  I’ve always been in the habit of treating one of his sermons as one in an endless stream, that I could go to hear whenever I wanted to, where I knew that God would speak. 

Now I can’t do that.  It’s Sunday tomorrow, and I could go.  But to what end?  Mark is gone, and with him has gone a world of spiritual wisdom and kindness. 

All that is left of that wonderful man is some bytes on a disk.  Maybe there is a hundred or so; each about 3Mb long; 300Mb or so in total.  That’s it.  He is now just a soon-fading memory in our minds, and some bytes.

It’s one thing for me to collect the words of the Fathers.  I never knew any of them.  But to do so for someone I knew?  How inadequate those few hundred megabytes are, in exchange for what has departed!


7 thoughts on “Still thinking about Mark Ashton

  1. I’m so very sorry to hear about your loss. I will pray for you, and for this man.

    “It’s Sunday tomorrow, and I could go. But to what end?”

    To worship God, as part of Christ’s Body. To thank God for what He gave you in Mr. Ashton, to thank God that He has granted that you live another day, and to move further along the road to eternal life yourself.

    It’s okay to grieve. But when you’re grieving, it’s a time to turn toward prayer and church, not away. There’s no better place to cry (or to yell at God mentally, for that matter).

  2. Erk. I didn’t realize you were talking about going all the way to Cambridge. Sorry. Though you might find it a comfort, and that’s a perfectly good reason.

    Well, whenever you do go next to Cambridge, you can make it a little pilgrimage. Maybe you can go visit his grave.

  3. Yes, the distance is the main reason I was never able to go regularly (and I tried).

    I’ve been listening to some of the downloadable material. It is excellent indeed.

  4. Dear Roger,

    My condolences to you and everyone affected by this loss.

    It is at times like this that we must remember the promise of our shared faith… our brother is not gone, and so much more remains that just some digital material.

    There is also the hope of resurrection in which we all have our faith… a time where all tears shall be dried, and you shall and be seen face to face.

    And yet, there remains so much more than just this hope. You yourself are now part of part of his spiritual legacy for which he has received the crown of life in Christ Jesus. Your life, and the life of his congregants becomes a valuable witness, ever keeping him present in this world while we await the world to come.

    Peace to you and all those affected,

  5. Thank you Joshua for your kind words. Given that I hardly knew the man, and only witnessed his public preaching, it is ridiculous that I grieve as I do. But grieve I do.

  6. There are just some people who touch us more or make us think more and better, whether it’s because they say what we need, or come along at the right time, or whatever. That’s particularly true with teachers and pastors; it’s part of their gift. And it’s part of God’s gift to us as students or listeners.

    It’s not ridiculous to grieve such people, even if you didn’t get to spend much personal time with them. We are one body in Christ; we are all closer than is evident to the eye.

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