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A few words about loss. I learned this morning, as I write, of Archdeacon Philippa Pride’s death. Philippa was a great friend, and I was fortunate to have spent some time with her 2 Saturdays ago. We held hands, and laughed, which was our usual means of communication. Her death was one of those that we might call unfair; she was in her 40’s, her daughter just 16 years old. She was so very well respected in her vocation as a priest, and prior to her appointment as Executive Archdeacon, she spent most of her professional time moving from parish to parish sustaining and challenging communities to make change and move forward, even in the midst of uncertainty. She was, for me, a friend. We shared a sense of humour that I believe connected us both to God. I will miss her and I pray that her memory will be eternal.

I’ll speak more to this in my sermon on Maundy Thursday, and I’m curious about your experience, but I know that as I write this, I am in a Good Friday moment; a kind of shock where I cannot be sure that my grief will not overwhelm me. I have work to do, but I’m not interested in that because my friend has died. This week, I imagine, will be a kind of Holy Saturday, where I will still be grieving and kind of stunned into silence as I think about her loss and her daughter’s pain in losing such a ferocious Mum. And my challenge is not to move too quickly through these difficult times. I am sad. I am angry. I am concerned, even afraid for her daughter. These are real and worthy emotions. They are in some ways, the cost of loving Philippa. And I know, that one day, even if I cannot imagine it now, that Easter Sunday is coming. I will be able to smile and even laugh at a memory of my friend. I cannot do that now, and that’s ok. There cannot be an Easter Sunday without Good Friday and Holy Saturday, nor is Good Friday the final word, although it feels like that right now.

Those of you who are in Good Friday or Holy Saturday times, know that you are seen, know that you are loved. Your pain is real and its ok to feel it. As we all enter Holy Week, know that God sees you, God loves you, God knows your pain. And God calls you into God’s loving embrace. The communities of the cathedral are with you and love you.