Thursday, April 23, 2015

St George

Not-necessarily-connected reflections on St George’s Day, first posted on Facebook:

Today is St George’s Day, the national day of England. George was a young Middle-Eastern Christian who stood up to a local tyrant, symbolically represented as a dragon. He was first ‘adopted’ by English knights on the disastrous Crusades, and later embraced by the whole nation. True Englishness – as opposed to defensive or jingoistic nationalism - ought to recognise that our economic and foreign policies contribute to global injustice, and welcome those who seek asylum from the extreme consequences of that injustice. I am grateful to live in a City of Sanctuary, and to have Middle-Eastern Christian friends. Happy St George’s Day!

What dragon are you called upon to slay today, and with what will you slay it?

Anti-Englishness, on the basis of the past and present sins of the English people, is tiresome and ungodly. You might as well be anti the whole human race. As someone who has a sense of being called by God to England and the English, to love and serve this people; as someone who has an England-born wife and children, and whose ancestry takes in this as well as other lands; I choose to celebrate the good, and encourage others to do the same. Happy St Georges Day!

The reading for Morning Prayer on St George’s Day is Joshua 1:1-9. It makes for slightly uncomfortable reading, as it has been used to justify colonialism. But the heart of God’s instruction is to receive the whole world as gift, and to exercise spiritual authority through prayerful study of history, continually establishing justice, having courage in the face of challenges, and knowing that God is with us - not to vindicate us when we exercise authority in our name but as the one who gives us authority to live-out his loving will for all peoples and all of creation. Understood in this light, it expresses the vocation of all humanity; and the call of the people of God to model such a way of living in the midst of all wider societies. If that is daunting, hear Gods words: Do not be afraid; I am with you.

During a time of silent prayer for those suffering persecution and martyrdom for their faith in our world and particularly in the Middle East today; for our nation, and the competing stories of Englishness around which the General Election is being fought; and for ourselves, and the dragons we face; we lit candles - a tangible reminder that Jesus is the Light of the World, and calls us to be light in an at times dark world too.

No comments:

Post a Comment