FOR OUR TOMORROW
THEY GAVE THEIR TODAY
Message from The Rector
A pew-sheet with a difference this week as we mark Remembrance Sunday in the context of the current restrictions. There will be shortened outdoor services in all of our parishes, in the village churchyards and at Aldeburgh’s War Memorial. Each will begin at 10.45 / 10.50, incorporate the two-minutes silence at 11.00 and include the traditional words. And for those who are unable, for whatever reason, to be present there will also be an online service too, in the usual place –
It will begin with suitable music at 10.45 and also include the Exhortation, Last Post, two-minutes silence at 11.00, Kohima Epitaph and prayers. Even in these most unusual circumstances ‘we will remember them’.
For the duration of the ‘lockdown’ there will be an online service every Sunday at 10.30 and every Wednesday at 10.00. The services remain on our YouTube channel so if you aren’t able to be with us at those times you can worship with us later too. My plan is to record these services in church – more appropriate surroundings, less dining-room curtains! And we are planning for a return to church after the lockdown ends though, of course, we do not yet know what restrictions may still be in force. But, sadly, we know we will miss being able to gather together for the feast of Christ the King (November 22nd) and Advent Sunday (November 29th). We will do our best. By the way, I have written to our member of parliament to ask if she would support a reconsideration of the policy of closing churches, pointing out the care that we have taken to make them Covid-safe. I have not received a reply (or an acknowledgment) at the time of writing this. And for those who rise early on a Sunday there will be a familiar voice on Radio Suffolk at about 6.40am, discussing remembrance and closed churches.
Last week I mentioned the wonderful work that has been going on in Aldeburgh churchyard. There is now a special page on the website, complete with some pictures. Many thanks to Sue Howcutt for the well-chosen words.
And finally, some really good news from Aldeburgh – we have a churchwarden! After my appeal at this year’s APCM Ken Smith has agreed to be our warden until the next APCM. We have already had an excellent meeting about what is involved. Many will already know Ken and his combination of a gentle presence with a wonderfully practical approach (he has been working hard in the churchyard – and I mean hard!). He has been a loyal member of the PCC for many years and I am so grateful to him for stepping forward. All we have to do now is to make him legal – and I’m working on that!
With love, as ever
Reflection for Remembrance Sunday by Prebendary Derek Johnson
I can remember quite clearly what I was doing on V.E. Day. One friend of mine from school Bill Burton lived with his widowed mother in her small general store a few doors down in the High Street from my grandmothers pub. Mrs Burton invited some of Bill’s friends for fish and chips in the late afternoon. I am ashamed to say I am unable to remember what I was doing on V.J. Day.
I think one of the reasons the men were called The Forgotten Army was because it did not impinge on us so much. The Japanese had not dropped bomb on us and so it was more remote. There is an element of truth in that.
The Burma campaign was horrific in every sense of the word and more. In the late 1950’s The War Office tried to prevent the film The Bridge Over the River Kwai being made. It was made, as we all know – a box office hit with seven Oscars. Brigadier Sir Phillip Toosey, who had been in the camp and worked on the railway, went to see it and said “It was a good piece of story telling but absolute fiction”. A great many who had been on the railway saw it and were upset and insulted by it. Then, with Sir Phillip, they raised their voices in protest. The idea that with British stiff upper lip they had collaborated with the Japs to show how they could build the bridge was offensive – they were always trying to sabotage it.
The real story of that appalling time is found in Ernest Gordon’s book The Miracle on The River Kwai. One sees the horror of it all, the dreadful conditions in the camp, the “every man for himself attitude” and how it was transformed by two Christian men, one a Methodist the other a Roman Catholic. The way they worked and cared for their fellow – men was an example that others began to follow. A true and wonderful example of faith in action.
Some say it is time to stop and let it all go. I cannot.
I believe we should REMEMBER.
Deciphering words in the New Testament –
(It’s all Greek to me)
In Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer(ch.6.12) “trespasses” in Greek is “opheilemata”, or strictly, debts, i.e. what we owe to God and haven’t paid. Luke (ch. 11.4), almost certainly writing later, seems to correct this to “HAMARTIA”, a word which has a basic meaning not so much of wilful wrongdoing, or owing anything, as of missing the mark, as in arrows missing the target. This might suggest a reduction of personal responsibility for actions that our consciences tell us are wrong. “I did my best, Sir, but I missed it.” There’s a sort of hidden excuse in here which doesn’t fit the broader teaching of Jesus, who without doubt teaches us to take full responsibility for our actions. Yet read right through the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) from end to end and you don’t get the feeling that Jesus is always banging on about sin, any more than saying that driving is all about flat tyres. He has much better things in view.
Note incidentally the crucial difference between “trespass” and “sin”: a trespass is a wrong action; sin involves a denial of God or whatever is your final authority if you happen to be an atheist.
So was Luke’s word, “Hamartia”, closer to the word, presumably Aramaic, used originally by Jesus himself? We don’t know, and I’m afraid I can’t help, for as one Old Testament professor said to me on a famous (only for me) occasion: “But then Mr. Giles, you know no Hebrew; allow me to translate”. And anyway, there is no known Hebrew or Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer yet somehow “hamartia” seems to me to soften the element of destructive blame to be dumped on us when we have gone off the rails. As we all do. So, Tyndale’s translation “trespasses”, which he seems to have been the first to use in this context, works well enough for me. The Lord’s Prayer is indeed one of our greatest treasures. We can give a big thank-you that it has come down to us over all these centuries, in whatever translation. Amen.
Next week we will move on to happier ground with the word for repentance, namely “Metanoia”.
15th November – Second Sunday before Advent
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.
We will remember them.
Remembrance ideas for 2020
The Royal British Legion have a comprehensive website with information of all Remembrance Day related points. Do take a look.
Here is a snippet of ideas from their website.
As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, it may be necessary for individuals and communities to consider new ways of performing Remembrance activities, whether at Remembrancetide or any other time of the year.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a wide-range of suggested Covid safe activities that are inexpensive to create:
- Hold a small Remembrance service in your garden.
- Create a Remembrance space in your garden by planting plants that have a connection to Remembrance.
- Use Zoom, Facebook or another online meeting resource to host an online Remembrance service or activity.
A Field of Remembrance will be open during all of next week.
Chris Burrell-Saward has been busy researching the histories of those brave servicemen who died in the two World Wars and those histories are now displayed outside the church in a Field of Remembrance so even if you are not able to attend the service on Sunday, a visit to the churchyard at some other time will be well worthwhile to read the astonishing stories of those men who gave their lives.
To all Friston Residents