I've just read that Mark Ashton has died. Mark was my vicar for four years in Cambridge. A great man of God, a really good preacher, and someone who, more than anyone else I know, really thought through how church should be done to reach people and bring glory to God.
Here are some words he wrote for his church magazine last year.
I have realised what a very great privilege it is to know that I do not have much longer to live (unless the doctors are completely wrong!). We, all of us, have an invisible sell-by date stamped on us, and I guess we would all live slightly different lives if we knew what that date was. I am convinced that I am fortunate to know that I need to get myself ready for departure.
I think there are three things that means for me particularly: (1) I need to fight sin more fiercely; (2) I need to tell others about Jesus more clearly; (3) I need to look to Jesus more and more with every new day.
Knowing that it will not be all that long before I am removed forever from the presence of sin means that I should tolerate it less and less in my life now. It has no place in the presence of God and I need to prepare myself for that.
I know the reference of dying just before Easter day wouldn't have been lost on Mark.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
Romans 6:5, NIV