DAY 36: Thursday 23 April
Good morning all
On this day in 2019 we hadn’t imagined ‘Lockdown’ except as an occasional exciting bit of the TV quiz ‘Pointless’.
On this day in 1968 the first decimal coins were introduced in the UK
On this day in 1564 William Shakespeare was born and on this same day in 1616, he died.
On this day in 303AD, a Roman soldier, part of the elite Praetorian Guard was executed under orders of Emperor Diocletian for refusing to recant his Christian faith. St George of Lydda as he later became known was born to a Christian family from the Greek town of Cappadocia, now in modern Turkey. George’s military exploits have led to countless stories, mostly unproven legends, of slaying a dragon in what is now Libya, and during the Middle Ages was accredited with warding off the Black Death and other plagues.
Because of these traditions, George has been adopted as patron saint of a number of provinces including England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Catalonia and parts of Portugal. Celebrations of St George are followed in Russia, Croatia, Albania and other parts of the world. In religious terms he is venerated in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Church of the East, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism and Umbanda. In Islamic sources George is regarded as a prophetic figure who had personal contact with people who had lived through the times of Jesus and the Apostles Peter and Paul.
So how come this Greek Christian from Cappadocia who joined the Roman army and rose through the ranks before being executed for his Christian faith in a Palestinian town on the outskirts of what is now Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, has become the patron saint of England, a land he never visited? After all, St David had lived and ministered in Wales and St Patrick spent most of his life preaching and ministering in Ireland. Well it was decided by Edward III in 1350 to make George the patron saint of England because the legends of George had been so highly regarded by the Crusaders returning from their battles in the Holy Land a century before. King Edward also established the ‘Order of the Garter of St George’ and the traditions of St George were further advanced by King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt.
Shakespeare made sure that nobody would forget St George when he has Henry V finishing his pre-battle speech with the famous phrase, ‘Cry God for Harry, England and St. George!’
The cross of St George is displayed at sporting events to represent England, it forms part of the Union Flag and is displayed in many buildings dedicated to St George. Many of you will remember the army barracks located opposite the top of Carhampton Road which were named after St George and where the Chapel used to take a display at the annual community festival that was staged there each Summer back in the 1950-60’s
Do we need a patron saint of England that was imported to these shores by the Catholic Church centuries ago? Well it is reassuring for us to know of Christians who were prepared to die for what they believed. To have that memory embossed upon our nation’s identity is no bad thing either and as we may think we are going through suffering in these days, the story of St George reminds us that what we experience is nothing to what the early Christian church, and many of today’s Christian communities suffered for their faith.
Karen has received the following about the current situation which she is passing on -
WE ARE NOT ALL IN THE SAME BOAT ...
I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like that. We are sailing in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.
For some that live alone they're facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.
Some are bringing in extra money with endless overtime, Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales. Others no longer have a job.
Some families of 4 will receive £5000 per month from the stimulus while other families of 4 will see £0 for the duration of it.
Some were concerned about getting a certain chocolate for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.
Some want to go back to work because they don't qualify for unemployment
and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine and are seen outside.
Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.
Some have experienced the near death of the virus; some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don't believe this is a big deal.
Some have faith and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.
So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, but actually seeing. We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing very different journeys so don't judge others by what's happening in your boat, we are all fighting our way through the storm.
James 1:2-4 But consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Hymnalong for today >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5m6uuH-NIg
Be aware of a massive increase in scam calls, texts and emails purporting to relate the pandemic. Karen received such a call yesterday from what looked like a genuine 0121 number. The caller was pretending to sell face masks with the story that the World Health Organisation had instructed everyone to wear face masks (which is of course not true). You may have also seen the programme on TV last night highlighting other scams including messages that appear to come from the NHS, Inland Revenue and UK Gov. These are fake – do not respond to such phone calls or emails.
MAKE YOU SMILE:
The preacher was completing a difficult sermon on the evils of drink. With great expression he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."
With even greater emphasis he then said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."
Then finally, he said, "And if I had all the whisky in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."
He sat down.
The Deacon then got up to draw the service to a close and rather cautiously announced with a smile, "To end our service, let us sing Hymn 365: "Shall We Gather at the River."
That’s all for today