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From the Vicarage - April

A new gold sovereign was recently issued by the Royal Mint commemorating the first 500 days of our new King’s reign. These gold coins have been associated with the legend of St

George and the Dragon for over 200 years. Initially designed by Italian gem engraver, Benedetto Pistrucci, the 1817 artwork has continually been reworked and modernised. But this latest coin has been called ‘bold and innovative’.

Rather than the victorious St George on horseback towering menacingly over a defeated dragon, we see the image of Charles III, alongside the image of the dragon.

April is of course the month in which St George is remembered. There have been many discussions about the appropriateness or relevance of George as Patron Saint of England, but there is no doubt that the ‘George and the Dragon’ story has long captured the imagination of young and old. The well-loved legend tells of George the soldier who, coming upon a village being terrorised by a hungry dragon appeased only by being fed firstly livestock and then people, comes to the rescue. George took on the beast and all its fury, heroically slaying the creature just in time to save the young princess from becoming the creature’s next victim! It’s a story of bravery and courage, chivalry and love, service and sacrifice; it’s a story of evil being overpowered, overthrown and ultimately conquered by goodness!

Evil is a strong and emotive word and one which some of us may naturally shrink back a little from using. But the presence of evil is difficult to deny, and the problem of evil has always raised questions and led to a multitude of different answers and understandings.

The Christian faith has never denied evil to be a reality, even if we cannot fully explain it. The first pages of our bible give us a picture of evil in the story of the Garden of Eden; in the Lord’s Prayer we ask, ‘deliver us from evil’; at every joyful and celebratory baptism service we pray for ‘bravery’ to ‘stand against the powers of evil.’

I am particularly fond of the prayer of Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of Cape Town, who wrote:-

Goodness is stronger than evil.Love is stronger than hate.Light is stronger than darkness.Life is stronger than death.Victory is ours through Him who loved us.

 

It reminds me that the evil, hatred, darkness and death of our world can only be overthrown and transformed if they come face to face with something stronger. But more than that – it suggests to me that the something which is stronger, needs not to be more of what has been dealt in the first place. It needs to be far more ‘bold’ and ‘innovative’’ than that.

Perhaps there is a hint of that in our most recent ‘bold and innovative’ gold sovereign?

 

It is, I believe, also the message and truth of this Eastertide season – celebrated in our Christian Churches for the whole of this month and half of next!

Carolyn  (Vicar)

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