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No sting; no victory - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
No sting; no victory

This morning, the Baroness James of Holland Park OBE FRSL FRSA, late Lay Patron of the Prayer Book Society, late of the Home Office, died in the four-and-ninetieth year of her age. Which is to say that PD James died this morning, peacefully and of old age: one of the few causes of death not to be found in her detective novels. One of the great writers on death and murder, crime, sin, evil, detection, justice, and redemption, has now made, in sere age and without terror, one of the Church Triumphant.

Two days ago, in Australia, at the SCG, the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales – like all other matches in the tournament – was abandoned. On 63 not out, Phillip Hughes was facing the bowling of his friend and fellow International, Sean Abbott. They were the future of Oz cricket, these lads, Hughesy aged five-and-twenty, a scrapper, a bantam, and Abbott an all-rounder of two-and-twenty years. Abbott S bowled a bouncer, properly, fairly, and – in the state of play – inevitably. Hughesy was struck in the neck by the ball – unforeseeably – and, incredibly, collapsed, with a vertebral artery dissection leading to a subarachnoid cerebral hæmorrhage. On the green, Edenic pitch, that cultivated Arcady, that closed garden of Elysium where nor age nor death has place nor ever intervenes, and upon which the godlings in their whites live eternally, death came against all odds, freakish and beyond any expectation or possibility. This morning, after two days in hospital, Phil Hughes died – and his friend, his mate, Sean Abbott (for whom we must pray and whom we must support) was given over to an anguish none else has ever known.

It is incredible to us, these ironies gathered ’round, walking in the train of, that ancient enemy, the King of Terrors, Death.

Death itself is incredible, at the last: at once absurd and inexplicable. It comes as individual tragedy and as mind-numbing statistic, but never as anything save a surprise and an ambush, and the more so the more nearly it touches our own acquaintance – and just misses (for a time) ourselves.

There is but one response to it which makes sense. To recognise it for what it is; and to deny it its victory.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

The First Epistle of Paul to the Church that was at Corinth, the Fifteenth Chapter, beginning at the fifty-first verse. Here endeth the Lesson.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
tudorpot From: tudorpot Date: November 27th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful, thank you.
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: November 27th, 2014 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
RIP to them both.

They were the future of Oz cricket

And your countrymen's potential opposition, so your eulogy is doubly meaningful. Thank you.
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