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Showing posts from November, 2013

St Andrew's Day Rambling Roundup

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I planned to write something clever and wise for St Andrew's Day. I haven't. I'm still making a priority of resting after a recent operation. So instead of what I intended, here is a rambling miscellany of thoughts and links to other posts.

Firstly, why the image of aeroplane vapour trails? What has that got to do with St Andrew's Day, apart from the idea that Andrew was martryed on a diagonal cross? A diagonal white cross allegedly appeared in a blue sky on the morning of the battle in  832 A.D. between Angus (Oengus), King of the Picts (helped by the Scots) and Athelstane, the Saxon King of Northumbria. According to a story written by Walter Bower (1385 - 1449) King Angus prayed to St Andrew on the eve of the battle. The next day King Athelstane fled from the field and Athelstane was killed near what is now the village of Athelstaneford. Because of this story, the village now prides itself as being the birthplace of the Saltire, Scotland's national flag that has a…

Hilda of Whitby

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As the General Synod considers yet again how to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of England without driving out those of its members who are unable to accept that change, it seems apt that today's commemoration is for Hilda, Abbess of Whitby.

St Hilda (Hild) was a woman of great influence in the 7th century church in England. As Abbess of a monastery for women and men at Whitby she, "...taught there the strict observance of justice, piety, chastity, and other virtues, and particularly of peace and charity; so that, after the example of the primitive church, no person was there rich, and none poor, all being in common to all, and none having any property. Her prudence was so great, that not only indifferent persons, but even kings and princes, as occasion offered, asked and received her advice; she obliged those who were under her direction to attend so much to reading of the Holy Scriptures, and to exercise themselves so much in works of justice, that many…

Remembrance Day 2013

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A few minutes ago I kept the traditional 2 minute silence for this day Remembrance Day/Armistice Day.

The 11th hour of the 11th month of 1918 was the official end of World War 1, the 'war to end all wars'. If only it had. I haven't much that is original to say about this commemoration, but have read some excellent material written by others. As a remembrance round-up here is a taster to share with you:

A thoughtful broadcast talk by Dr Sam Edwards is summarised in the BBC News Magazine and asks How should we remember a war? He writes of how memorials are changing and suggests that now the last veteran of World War 1 has died the time is now right to look at that war with new eyes:
"The time is right to complicate our traditions of commemoration - not as a means to denigrate or dismiss the sacrifices asked of - and given by - British soldiers, but in order to recast the prism through which these sacrifices are refracted.  For the events of 1914-18 did not just butcher a …

Remembrance Sunday 2013

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On Remembrance Sunday... At the going down of the sunand in the morningwe will remember them.We will remember them.Thanks to the Royal British Legion poppies continue to be a symbol of lives given, lost or damaged by war and the need for support for those affected.
Not all who die or suffer through war are heroes. Many performed heroic acts in service with the armed forces in the wars of the last century. All deserve respect and should be honoured and remembered with thankfulness. But in modern wars and conflicts the majority of casualties are civilians, including children. You only have to think of places like Syria. We remember them too.
What a mess the world is in. We could blame people in power. We could blame uneven distribution of resources. We could ask, why does God allow dreadful things to happen? I wonder - would he ask us the same question?
In many Remembrance Sunday services today, these words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount may be read: blessed are the peace-makers,for they …

All Saints Day

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On All Saints Day it's good to be reminded that the saints of old, venerated in stained glass and icons, were all flawed people just like the rest of us. Saints have been described as people that the light shines through, but all had their dark side and dark experiences.

In 'A Short Story About Saints and Bullies' Nancy Rockwell reflects on the story of Zacceus and how Jesus saw the saintly potential in him, a man others held in contempt. She links this with the stories of other saints and heroes who were certainly not seen as perfect or were bullied and despised by others. She writes:
"Saints are people who are windows in this world.  The light of God shines through them so brightly that people say they have seen salvation in them, and in the household of their lives.  A remarkable thing about them is that many were scapegoats early in their lives, bullied and called contemptible by folks around them.   To mention a few:St. Francis of Assisi’s father dragged him into c…