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From the Manse........

If you haven't seen it already, then I do urge you to go and visit the postbox that is opposite Wantage Mill on the grass area close to the brook.

There you will find sitting on top of the post box a magnificent knitted head of a First World War soldier.

It is both breathtaking and moving, powerful and poignant and the attention to detail is incredible, it is a real labour of love and dedication.

The label attached to this masterpiece (which has a red poppy and the words "lest we forget" on it) says; "This is William. William stands for all heroes — alive and fallen"

On Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday we will indeed "remember them" We will remember 'William' and the names of all those who gave their lives, all those who went off to fight and who never came back, or, if they did, were never the same again.

It is important that we remember their names; names carved and inscribed on cenotaphs, crosses, monuments and cairns. We remember them by name and not simply as a number or statistic, for behind each name was a real person, loved and known.

I remember going to see the war graves in Flanders with a group of sixth form students as part of their First World War Poets module. The organiser of the trip had done his research and given each of us the name of a fallen soldier so that we could go and find their grave. The surname of that soldier was the same as our own. We were asked to find their resting place, to touch the stone and, if we wanted, to say a prayer. We were reminded that we could be the only person to have visited that grave for a long time, if ever.

When visiting the Tutankhamen exhibition last year I was reminded how in Ancient Egypt there was the belief that you die twice. Once, when you take your final breath, and then again the last time someone says your name. They believed that the spirits of the departed lived on for as long as people kept remembering them and their names were said.

In Isaiah 49, we are reminded that God has our name inscribed on the palm of his hand. We, like William and all those we remember lest we forget, are held by God, now and into eternity itself.

With love and God Bless


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