Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Saturday 20 April 2013

Ceremony in National life.

The ceremonial funeral of Margaret Thatcher went well. A well respected Politician who did her duty was accorded appropriate National recognition on her passing.
Not all politicians deserve this recognition; indeed the majority do not but Margaret Thatcher did, not only because she was the first ever female Prime Minister, indeed the first female leader of any major Country, but she is widely seen as having rescued the UK from industrial meltdown at the hands of militant Socialist Union leaders and from the opportunistic land grab in the Falkland islands by the Argentine Government. Furthermore, her rapport with the then Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachov was instrumental in ending the so called Cold War with the Eastern Bloc countries.

The service in Saint Pauls and the attendent ceremony, featuring all three of the military services, exemplified the need for such National occasions at times of emotional significance. It fulfills the spiritual need of the collected Nation but I ask, not for the first time, whether such services can be conducted without reference to a 'divisive' God? The ceremony and much of the liturgy can be retained in the service because besides adding colour and texture to the occasion, it has signicant historical value and human ceremony has a rich heritage of adapting old practice for inclusion in the new.
How would the service have appeared without reference to God? Not much different is the answer;in the same way as Baroness Thatcher adapted the prayer of St Francis, omitting, to suit her purpose, the first line.
"Where there is despair, may we bring hope," she famously said on the steps of No. 10 without mentioning the first line, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace."
There would be music drawn from past but suitably adapted. This would not be sacrilege because although the amended lyrics are man made, the music comes from nature, the well ordered sequencing of mathematically calculated notes.
The first reading by Amanda Thatcher from Ephesians, citing the 'Armour of God' was a cry for protecting the weak from the dangers of those with too much power and evil generally. The point could just as well be made without reference to God.
Why then use the language of religion when conducting the service, not in a church built by Gods for the Glory of God, but in a Cathedral built by men and women as a testament to their skill and commitment which speaks volumes of the glory of MANKIND?

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