The following is a guest post from Jonathan Carswell:
There are some people whose life and ministry makes a huge impact. There are others who, ironically, make their mark upon death. Rev Mark Ashton was a man under God who did both.
Vicar at St Andrew the Great in Cambridge for the last 16 years Mark’s teaching ministry has blessed countless 1000’s who move through the city each year.
When diagnosed with inoperable cancer and given just six months to live, Mark was neither downhearted, nor forlorn. Instead deep joy and expectation filled his heart as he awaited his call home from his Heavenly Father. In the weeks between diagnosis and death Mark wrote a short, but profound and deeply moving reply to the question – ‘Is it really possible to face the final stages of our earthly lives with confidence and without fear?’
Describing his own experience Mark shared how one can have real confidence, through the resurrection of Jesus. He writes, ‘My death forces me to face the resurrection of Jesus. No longer is it a bald fact of history for me. It is of crucial significance… Jesus has already risen. If I know him now, I will know him then. He is my assurance in dying, and his resurrection is central to Christianity.’
Rev Jonathan Fletcher, of Emmanuel Church Wimbledon, wrote of Mark: ‘[His] ministry was epitomised by very consistent, faithful and powerful Bible exposition . . . matched by his godliness, typified by compassion, courage and humility.’
Never keen to glorify himself however, Mark wrote, prior to dying, ‘Don’t magnify me — remember the reality: I was someone who sometimes got you cross, and irritated you, and let you down, and disappointed you, and hurt you. So please don’t remember an imaginary relationship with me. It was good, but it could have been better. I loved you, but I could have loved you better . . . don’t trust in our love for one another. Let’s trust in God’s love for us, so that the change in our relationship which my death will bring can strengthen each of our relationships with Jesus’.
Mark went to be with the Lord on April 3, Easter Saturday. His last words were, ‘I am nearly home’.
His booklet, On My Way To Heaven, has already been reprinted three times and is available from just £1 at www.10ofthose.com or via the phone on 0844 879 3243