Sunday, 4 July 2010

Happy Independence day!

To all those in the United States, Happy Independence Day!
I can do no better than quote St David: "Be joyful, keep the faith!"

And a friendly warning ( because our respective cultures have so much in common) in the (admittedly very much of their time) words of Rudyard Kipling, thought to be the English poet-apologist of Empire, but in fact far more complex than that.
His prophetic words, I suspect, were not taken to heart by our own leaders when (historically not that long ago) Great Britain was the global superpower:

Recessional (written in 1897 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee)

God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Father. I have always taught my children, and any one who would listen, that the United States is actually only a modified English culture. It would be hard for it not to have been modified as the early colonists found its climate less hospitable than that pearl caste in the silvery sea. My own family came here in 1624 from England (we think from the West counties, perhaps Devon).
    Your words are very kind as is the reminded of Kipling's poem. I preached yesterday consciously bringing to mind the lovely hymn, "I vow to thee my country." That hymn marvelously puts forth the duality of patriotism and our Faith. We must remember that the "other country I heard of long ago" is the citizenship that take priority over all other loyalties--so I said to my parish.
    So from one whose family hails from that precious land, and who cherishes his English heritage and culture, allow me to say from the depths of my heart to you as well, "God save the Queen."


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