The letter this month comes from the Rev’d Meg Kirby who is our recently licensed Associate Priest [House for Duty] living in Yattendon. Meg, her husband Christopher and lively dog Daisy have come to us from Calne in the Salisbury diocese and in addition to her part time work in the parishes Meg will be padre to Denison Barracks, a role previously occupied by James Cook. This means she will have a strong connection with Holy Trinity and will be officiating this year at the Remembrance Day service in Hermitage.
In our household, winter never quite arrives until the morning of 6th November. Somehow it always seems colder on the evening of the 5th November and the morning after, when firework rockets have pierced the sky.
Despite its horrific origins in 1605, Bonfire Night in our own time has become a community event, where people enjoy being together. It is a time when projects and competitions are arranged by schools and local groups to spark the imaginations of children and adults alike. Here is a poem, entitled ‘Bonfire Night’, written by a girl in year 5 of a school in Buckingham, taken from the web:
Vibrant fireworks fill the sky like colourful paint splashes on black paper
Blasting fireworks bang and boom like dynamite
Spiral sparks spin like a merry go round, going in every direction
Rainbow glass scattered in a thousand pieces
Glittering diamonds falling out of the midnight sky like comets
Flashing fairgrounds in the sky break the still silence
Twinkling illusions dancing in the sky
Into the depths of the midnight sky
There is something about the dark skies, the sudden explosions, the brightly colourful and fleeting fireworks that lift our hearts as well as our eyes. They can inspire us and chase away, albeit for a short while, the thoughts of cold and long dark nights of winter. Firework displays are like little Festivals of Light that reveal glimpses of light and hope. Their light shines in the darkness.
We gather with the expectation of a spectacle not too different to those we have experienced in the past. Yet the fireworks still have the capacity to take us by surprise; as they explode in the sky they can catch us unawares. But they are soon gone, and the acrid after-smell of sulphur, gunpowder and nitrates soon fades too.
On our faith-journey, we often have times that are a bit like Bonfire Night. Sometimes we are uncertain of God’s existence, feeling the cold and dark of the winter evening but hoping to be surprised by an explosion of light to reawaken our wonder and delight, to set our hearts and minds alive in a new way so that we see life through enhanced senses. At other times our faith is steady and we bask in the warmth of God’s presence much like we huddle around the bonfire. And sometimes we are near enough to the fire to feel its warmth but are still surprised by the fireworks, when we overflow with love for God and joy at being his.
With every blessing
Reverend Meg Kirby