07 March 2019

From dying unprepared, save us

Footprints: Christian Aid’s
Lent and Holy Week daily
reflections (7 March 2019)

Thursday 7 March 2019

From dying unprepared, save us.

Author: Revd Canon Patrick Comerford

Bible reading

Luke 9: 22-25

If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and
take up their cross daily
and follow me.
Luke 9: 23

‘Let them take up their cross daily and follow me’ (Luke 9:23). The cross on the sandbanks of Laytown, Co Meath. Credit: Patrick Comerford


In this morning’s Gospel reading, Jesus talks to his disciples about the fact that he is going to suffer, be rejected, be killed, and then ‘on the third day be raised.’ But, just in case they think he is only referring to himself, he tells them that they must deny themselves and be prepared to lose their own lives.

Throughout Lent, we are looking not only towards the Crucifixion and Good Friday but looking forward to the Resurrection and Easter Day.

In the Litany in the Church of Ireland, we pray, ‘from dying unprepared, save us, good Lord’. As Christians, we know that death is not the end. In his death, Christ breaks through the barriers of time and space, bringing life to those who are dead. Those who hear the voice of Christ live.

Back in the 1980s, I once interviewed Archbishop Desmond Tutu and asked him about the death threats he faced in South Africa at the height of apartheid. He engaged me with that look that confirms his deep hope, commitment and faith, and said: ‘But you know, death is not the worst thing that could happen to a Christian.’

He must have been tempted at times to give up being a thorn in the side of the regime, to stop being a ‘turbulent priest,’ and to live a comfortable life. But his conscience would never have been comfortable.

As Christ reminds us in this morning’s Gospel reading, ‘What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves.’


(The Book of Common Prayer, p.175)

From fire, storm and flood, from disease, pestilence and want, from war and murder, and from dying unprepared, save us, good Lord.


Revd Canon Patrick Comerford is a priest in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Limerick, and has been a journalist and a theology professor.

This Lenten reflection was shared this morning by Christian Aid Ireland as the second in the series ‘Footprints: Christian Aid’s Lent and Holy Week daily reflections’ (7 March 2019)

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