Monday, 23 April 2012

St George's Day - 23rd April

It is St. George's Day today - St. George is the Patron Saint of England, although interestingly, he was not English but born in Turkey and was of Palestinian descent. It was in fact his bravery during his life that came to make him an icon for the country where we live.
Historical records tell us that he lived in around 300 AD and was a member of the Roman Army. He was executed on 23rd April 303 AD after speaking out against the cruelties and repression of the Emperor Diocletian, who was persecuting Christian people for their beliefs. Before his execution he was tortured to try to make him denounce his Christian faith, however he resisted and was killed, and therefore came to be honored by Christians of the time as a martyr.
The famous legend of him killing a dragon is of course just a myth. The tale goes that a dragon had made a nest (the mythical creatures were said to lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young) over the well and only water supply of the land of Silene in Libya, and when it demanded a human sacrifice in return for its relinquishing its nest to the Silenean people so that they could draw water from their well again the King of Silene was forced to offer his daughter to the dragon after drawing lots. George rescued her and slayed the dragon in a typical fairy-tale ending to the myth!
The flag of St. George (a red cross on a white background) is still the flag of England, however together with the flag of Wales and the flag of Scotland, it now forms part of the flag of Great Britain, the Union Jack.
We don't celebrate St. George's Day - in fact St. George's Day is not a public holiday in England - but we do see it as an opportunity to think a little about the history of the great country where we live, and to enjoy the hymn above, which along with the words, features some interesting pictures of English landmarks and customs! Some of the features of England that we are especially thankful to our Father God for ...
Our Church
Tea brewed properly (of course tea leaves themselves are from China or India, but the way it is prepared here in England makes it taste wonderful)
Traditional English meals such as fish and chips, pie, mash and gravy, and roast beef with Yorkshire puddings
Rain (it makes you feel very cosy when you are indoors, and helps the plants to grow)!
Queues (everyone is so polite when they are waiting)
Double decker buses
Red pillar boxes
The Royal Family (especially Queen Victoria, whose life I am learning about just now)
Canal boats
The beautiful countryside and coast of North East England
English gardens, full of beautiful old-fashioned flowers such as climbing roses, lavender, foxgloves, hollyhocks, lupins, daisies, wallflowers and forget-me-nots.
Thank God for creating such a wonderful world!
(Apologies for the poor quality of layout in our posts currently - especially the muddly papargraphs. We are having some problems getting to grips with the new Blogger interface, which we are not finding very user-friendly. Hopefully these issues will resolve themselves quickly!).