KU: November 2016
When I was little growing up in the early 1960's, it was November 5th that we celebrated and not Halloween. That particular American import I am pleased to say had not yet arrived on our shores! So the excitement and the parties of that time of year were all linked to bonfire night and families and friends gathered together to let off their fireworks.
The "oooh's" and "aaaah's" as they exploded overhead in a dazzling array of colours and shapes were complemented by the cracks, bangs, and whizzes of pyrotechnic mayhem, not to mention the smell of cordite in the air. Even today that smell takes me back to my early years.
The best display ever, has to be one that we witnessed in the days of the G.L.C., when Ken Livingstone was in charge of London for the first time. This was a display to mark the end of Thames Day. A day that celebrated our great river and all that happened both on and around it. That night the explosions echoed all around the buildings of Westminster and rebounded between the north and south banks of the Thames. It was an electrifying display that left the thousands who watched wanting more.
Of course, this annual celebration has to be set into its historical context, for let us not forget that Guy Fawkes Day, 5th November, is essentially all about religious intolerance.
The Catherine wheels that are carefully nailed to wooden fences and barn doors, speak of the barbaric way in which St. Catherine was tortured and killed.
I was talking to someone just the other day who bemoaned the fact that so many of our world's major problems and conflicts seem to be about or over religion.
There is so much intolerance in the world and in society at large.
This month we remember the dead as we lay our wreaths and wear our poppies. As promised we remember those who are not aged by the passing of the years, those who never came back from the conflicts they went off to fight in. So many dead, so many lives ruined, so many families torn apart.
"There has to be another way", we hear people say. Of course there is. It doesn't come cheap though. It costs a great deal. The last person to tread this path with utter conviction and complete integrity was nailed to a cross. Murdered by men who were intolerant themselves and who couldn't bear to see the truth that He revealed.
During this season of remembrance, may we be channels of his peace, for the sake of his world.
With love and God Bless
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Letcombe Regis Village Hall