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Showing posts from November, 2015

The Lord's Prayer for Paris and the world

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Notre Père qui es aux cieux,
que ton nom soit sanctifié,
que ton règne vienne,
que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain de ce jour.
Pardonne-nous nos offenses,
comme nous pardonnons aussi à ceux qui nous ont offensés.
Et ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,
mais délivre-nous du Mal.
(Car c’est à toi qu’appartiennent,
le règne, la puissance et la gloire,
pour les siècles des siècles.) Amen

You can find my initial reaction to attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 in yesterday's post.

Image Credit: Flickr, CC License

Paris 13 November 2015 and not meeting violence with revenge

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Today is the 75th anniversary of the Coventry blitz during the 2nd World War. The following day the Provost of Coventry Cathedral stood in its ruins and spoke 2 words,
"Father forgive".These words are now engraved behind the Altar of Reconciliation in the ruins of the old cathedral. Kathryn Fleming, Canon Pastor points out in her blog post 'From Coventry to Paris' those 2 words, "Father forgive" is a sentence with no object so to pray that is to avoid pointing the finger at 'them' but instead to pray for us all:
'It's not "Father forgive THEM" - projecting the violence and hatred out to the other, and thereby justifying acts of reciprocal violence and vengeance...Rather "Father forgive" is a prayer for us all - for the many ways, great and small, in which we wound one another and mar God's image in us day by day.I can't imagine those words were universally popular in the city, as people emerged from air raid shelter…

Martin, Bishop of Tours and Armistice Day

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The Armistice that ended the fighting of World War 1 on the Western Front, between Germany and the Allies, came into effect at 11 am (Paris time) on 11th November, a date which coincidently is St Martin’s Day. I am not posting about Armistice Day today but you can see a previous post on that theme in Armistice Day 2014. Today I'm concentrating on St Martin.
Who was Martin? There are several people known as St Martin. The Martin remembered today by Catholics and Anglicans is Martin, Bishop of Tours, the patron saint of beggars, soldiers and conscientious objectors.
Martin was born about AD 316 in the Roman city of Savaria (now Szombathely in Hungary) but spent his childhood in Italy. His father was a tribune, a senior cavalry officer in the Roman army. His parents weren’t Christian but Martin was attracted to Christianity because of Christians he met. As a youth he wanted to be baptised, but was deterred because the law required he follow his father into the army. That was a problem …

On delaying funeral rites

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After my mother died, more than 2 years ago, one of the things I found hard was not having a funeral that included the presence of her body and its final committal for burial or cremation. 

This was as a result of honouring her plan to donate her body for medical education and research for an indefinite period of time after her death.

We held a Thanksgiving and Memorial Service which was beautiful and helpful but inevitably lacked the sense of closure that a burial or cremation can help to give. I wrote something about this last year in a post entitled 'On Not Having a Funeral'.

Since then 'life goes on', the initial rawness of grief has passed. I can talk about my mother without crying. The memories of her last dying weeks are more balanced now with memories of earlier years. I have mostly avoided thinking about how long the wait might be until my mother's mortal remains are cremated, mainly because it is has been uncomfortable to think about  what medical students a…

Remembrance Sunday: Poppy Meditation

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'In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row.'
Blood red poppies, symbols of lives lost in bloody battle, of bodies disfigured, of families shattered, ... but a sign too of new life in war-ravaged soil.
The red dissolves to white as the blood is drained.
White poppies rise, symbols of lives lost as a consequence of war, of bodies maimed, of families broken, ...  but a sign too of peace, of hope, of working together across the barriers for justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.

('Meditation: Poppies' by Gillian Collins)

Image Credit: Geograph, CC License

November 5th

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5th November seemed such an exciting day when I was a primary school age child.

In the few days before 'Bonfire Night' there would be the making of the 'Guy' and the building of the bonfire on which to burn this effigy of Guy Fawkes, one of the conspirators of the 'Gunpowder Plot'.

At school we usually painted Bonfire Night pictures. At home there would be a box of fireworks bought by my father in readiness for dangerous fun in the garden after dark, when rockets were precariously balanced in milk bottles ready for launching into the night sky. Usually the weather was cold and often wet but it all seemed worth it and surprisingly, but thankfully none of the family suffered burns. Like most pet dogs, the dog hated it. For more of this see 'Please to Remember the 5th of November'. The remainder of this post is adapted from what I posted last year.


In childhood I learned the simplified and Protestant-biased version of the 'Gunpowder Plot' to blow up P…