Many waters cannot quench love

The rain of the past twenty-four hours has been thirstily received by very dry ground, not least that of the rectory’s very free draining garden.  Water features in today’s readings too, as the children of Israel step through a divided Red Sea to escape the Egyptians at Morning Prayer and tonight we read the hauntingly beautiful lines from the Song of Songs:  “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.”


The Song of Songs has accompanied readings from the Gospels all week, but today it is with the raising of Lazarus, an account from St John, in which Jesus weeps, and onlookers remark on his love for his friend.  Whether it is a parted sea, or the floods of a drowned field, the love unquenched by heavy showers, or the drop of anguish’s fallen tears, water is present and taken with us, wrung out in metaphor, or falling gently from the sky.


The recognition of the debt the whole country owes to those who have moved here from from abroad, and have enriched us by their compassion and care and hard work for the whole community, has been highlighted by the present crisis.  It seems that wherever we turn in thought or prayer the reminder is present, that, in the end, the most precious gift we have to give to each other is simply ourselves, and that this is a currency that can never be valued in the market place.


The true value of human life is beyond our reckoning, but maybe occasionally - and this is one of those times - we move a little closer to know, or at least strive to try and understand, what God has placed in our hands, and humanity has so mercilessly devalued again, and again, and again…..


John Mann