‘Life Slips By, Abrahams, Life Slips By’

This week has seen the passing of at least three well known people, Victoria Wood, Prince, and Guy Hamilton – the man who directed four James Bond movies, including the genre defining Goldfinger. This year has so far been extraordinary, a time when we have seen so many famous faces leave this world. And I have been reminded of a couple of quotes from quite different sources. I was only 18 when I first saw Chariots of Fire in the cinema, but one particular line stayed with me.
‘Life slips by Abrahams, life slips by,’ The Master of Trinity college says to Harold Abraham’s, as they discuss studying, honour and running.
I was probably younger still when I first saw the moment in Fawlty Towers when Basil Fawlty mutters to himself, ‘Zoom, what was that?’ ‘That was your life, mate.’


This is a sad time. There is no doubt about that. This year has seen the dying of so many. We are reminded yet again that this life has an expiry date. Death is frightening, overwhelming and unknown. Lying awake in the small dark hours it can sometimes hang like a great weight above us. Time moves relentlessy forward and there is no great stick we can jam in the spokes to stop the movement of it. However, the great Christian hope about death is that it is not the end. And this is no vague hope, but one clearly defined and offered by the man from Nazareth. Jesus, in his life, actions, death and resurrection, has opened a new way for us. He encouraged his friends by promising that his life and death and resurrection were like the actions of a dedicated bridegroom, building brand new rooms on his father’s great house, an endless number where new and eternal life could take place. Life in Technicolour to quote the title of a song by the band Coldplay. And this is not a fingers crossed kind of hope, but a hope born out of trusting in this man who spent his long and busy days offering his life for others. I am often not full of faith, I can worry and doubt for England. But my heart is warmed as I listen to the words of Jesus, as I think on the smile of that man, the hands extended to the lost and worried. ‘I have come to bring you life,’ he said, ‘life in all its fullness.’ I don’t know what that will look like, but I hang on to that great hope, once described as a ‘sure hope’. The hope of Jesus.

So many spaces suddenly
Where people should have been
Lives that touched our lives
Across the airwaves, on the screen

Obituaries on Facebook
A public grief observed
We reflect on frail mortality
Grapple with the words

Discover once again
Life’s expiry date
Realise that each of us will
One day be known as ‘late’

The great unknown, the great beyond
Closer now it seems
As the well-known disappear
And we wonder what it means

Life slipping by so quickly
No brakes on this machine
I’m so grateful for the hope I find
In that man – the Nazarene.

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