New glory to cover old pain
The weekend past was poignant; I have in my files twenty year old copies of the Times from 12th September 2001. When I am in danger of forgetting of the dreadful reality of those days I read them through again. I read Bart Gelman from the New York Times and remember that I shared a house with him for a year in Oxford. I am conscious that, now the West has “left” Afghanistan, it will not do to “forget” it. The tram lines between Islamism, jihad, and terrorism need to be broken at a theological level. Until they are, no amount of “westernisation” can prevent the sanctification that religiously motivated violence still receives in some sections of the Islamic world.
Happily there were also celebrations; a triumphant return to “normal service” for the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday, when even the dear old BBC gritted its teeth, got out a couple of Union flags, and grudgingly dusted off the music to Rule Brittania and Jerusalem. Stuart Skelton, the Australian tenor drafted in to do the honours, got the idea however, and delivered with gusto, humour, and infectious joy. The real winner was the world of music; singers, instrumentalists, and all the stage crew, giving everyone a voice, and emphatically closing a chapter on the days of mute and mask.
The greatest glory was, fittingly, back in New York, where Emma from Bromley burst onto the world tennis stage and swept all before her. The scene of the atrocity of two decades ago became the scene of the impossible dream realised in glory. A young woman of ferocious talent and astonishing determination gave the world a new hope; sometimes the worthy do get the prize; sometimes the game will work out your way. The best argument against the muting of the Taliban and their ilk comes from the muted; if anyone can save Afghanistan now it will be the Afghan women, who have had twenty years of freedom, of education, and, we pray, have found their voices in that time.
Come to church, in person, and online: Worship for Sunday 19th September.
9.30am Morning Service at St John’s Stoke Row, led by Mr Brian Turner.
11am Family Service at Checkendon, led by Revd Kevin Davies. We welcome back the music group to lead our worship! There will be songs, prayers, and coffee, and a chance to chat.
6.30pm-7pm. Together at Home. A short, informal evening service (via zoom) with Revd Kevin, music, prayers and a brief talk. 636 645 195 and passcode 000162. Everyone welcome, wherever you are.
It is absolutely OK to pass these details onto friends and family, who are very welcome to join us. Other service options can be found on the Langtree Team Ministry Churches website.
You can support Checkendon church and Stoke Row churches via dedicated and secure online card donation pages. Just click on the link. If you’ve not tried this way to make a donation, please give it a go. It is very secure.
One of the grim things about the pandemic is that planning became a rather speculative, and sometimes fruitless, venture. Happily it seems appropriate now to begin to look forward; but I won’t push our luck. However, you might like to note for your diaries that this year’s Harvest Festival services will be held on Sunday October 3rd, and that Remembrance Sunday falls this year on November 14th.
Although autumn seems anxious to press ahead, the garden also has yet some glories to share. This dahlia is called, appropriately “Glorie van Noordwijk”. Can anyone help with the Dutch pronounciation?
God be with you all in the week ahead.