01/12/14 From the Minister's Chair
This year Remembrance has been a very strong event in the national conscious, marking the outbreak of the first world war but also remembering all those other conflicts that have sadly followed. The installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London which I had the privilege of seeing moved five million visitors to go and view these symbol of remembrance to great effect. The two minutes silence and the Service of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall have changed little over the years.
The only thing that seems sullied by retail is the recent embellishment of the actual poppy with extra large reminders, then metal and more recently cloth brooches representing the poppy. Careful everyone, when merchants and style gurus get going the meaning can vanish very quickly. On Sunday I heard someone from the Truro Secular Society complaining that the ‘religious’ element to remembrance should cease, they said the prayers and hymns made many people mad with anger at the hijacking of the event by the Church.
Christmas should be a warning to all of how a very significant and meaningful event can be hijacked and airbrushed of meaning. I think the remembrance reflections this year were excellent. People have a good idea of what it was all about and that is very important. For years though we have not enjoyed the same understanding with Christmas.
Luke 1:32 says “He shall be great and called the Son of the Most High”. It’s what the Angel said to Mary about the child she was carrying. It’s part of the story of Christmas that many would struggle to identify now. No wonder with such distraction. The shops got going in October, the television channels have run the most sickly sentimental films for weeks about nothing which reflects Christ. The hotels are busy with ‘tinsel and turkey’ etc. Merchants and style gurus have made off with Jesus’ birthday and it’s time to give it centre stage once again. We can do this by invitation to the services over Christmas; we can strengthen our publicity: we can send religious themed cards or use nativity wrapping paper and we talk about the meaning of Christmas. If we go away we can invite those with us to come to service whether in Sidmouth or wherever we find ourselves. We can also ask our broadcasters to provide more input which looks at the meaning of Christmas. They talk about everything else why not focus on our celebration as well. Make it meaningful would be my request. Make people think about why we remember this man who died for us and came back from the dead.
May I take this opportunity of whishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year
Brian, Sara, Charlotte, Emily and Flora