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Showing posts from November, 2014

The sheep and the goats

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Matthew 25:31-50

listen to ‘The parable of the sheep and the goats’ on audioBoom
This is one of those stories that has shaped our national life and consciousness.

It could be argued that this story that Jesus tells is THE story that created the values which motivated those who set up our welfare state. Why should there be no person who is hungry, thirsty or naked in our society? Why should no person die of sickness without us doing what we can to bring healing or comfort? Why should we not welcome the stranger? Why should we ensure that there is some compassion in our prisons?
It is not universal. In many societies there has been no reform of prisons; strangers are dangerous and you have nothing to do with them; the sick will die and if you want to stay healthy you avoid them; the hungry, thirsty and naked are hungry, thirsty and naked because they deserve to be hungry, thirsty and naked.
We live in a society which has been shaped by this book; our values have been shaped by this book – …

The Glorious Dead - a talk for remembrance Sunday

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You may have noticed that the cenotaph has moved since last year. It now rests beside the Regimental Chapel. It was quite a job. The builders said that it was like working with lego. It came apart in 70 different pieces. 
On the cenotaph is an inscription. There are three words that echo words inscribed on the cenotaph in London, 'The Glorious Dead'. 
I've done a bit of digging on the internet. The first time that I find the phrase in English literature is in a poem dated 1699. It speaks of the death of the Earl of Abingdon, but hints at a reference in Homer's Odyssey where Menelaus speaks of the calamitous fate that has befallen his friends as they fought for his cause overseas. 
The passage that is referred to (and I use here Alexander Pope's translation of 1725).
'Still in soft intervals of pleading woe regardful of the friendly dues I owe I, to the glorious dead, for ever dear Indulge the tribute of a grateful tear'
Today, with the benefits of hindsight, we mig…