Share this page

Tell your friends all about St Martin’s

Connect with us

Café in the Crypt

The Café in the Crypt is the ideal spot for affordable dining in central London.

→ Read more

First Sight

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 31 March 2013

Last Tuesday I telephoned an old friend.  I thought of her when in our Lent study groups we were asked by Sam to think of an “un-influential person” who yet influenced us for the good.

Her knees, hands and eyes are failing now, weakened by 80 years of Dartmoor life as shepherd and milk-deliverer.  Yet she is my “Mary Magdalene” whose deeds are remembered in my life, my “Dorothea of Middlemarch” who has touched the lives of many with kindness, forgiveness and care in the village where she lives.  I see her this week.  I can’t wait!

When I first met my Good Shepherd friend, who showed me, kindly, humbly and with much laughter, the fullness of living Church as community in that Devon village, my life was as frozen as the fields which surround the lambs in Philip Larkin’s poem First Sight.  Easter warmth may not flood us when the calendar reads “Easter”.  Nevertheless God, pressingly, urgently, enticingly, warmly invades our woe if we allow, and invites us into Easter joy, earth’s “immeasurable surprise”.

Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.

As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth’s immeasurable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew
What so soon will wait and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.

Revd Clare Herbert