Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol earlier this morning:

St George's Day today. A Roman soldier, martyred for not renouncing Christianity in the fourth century, is the patron saint of England, dragon-slaying myth and all.

The red and white cross of St George has been used proudly by English football fans and misused badly by racists.

What does it mean to be English? I have been terribly confused. With England making up the greatest population of the union of kingdoms I have, over the years, celebrated English success when I meant British.

We have Team GB at athletics, one Irish rugby national team for the Republic and Northern Island and five separate national football sides.

In various invasions over the first thousand years of Christianity it is likely that many of the occupants of England fled to the Welsh and Scottish hills. Romans came and went. As did Vikings. And Normans. The population of England, so modern DNA testing tells us, largely represents a people movement from continental Europe. Yes, we're Anglo-Saxons, all immigrants in a cosmopolitan melting-pot.

Yesterday we celebrated the joys of cuisine this huge mix of people groups has given us in multi-cultural Bristol.

Today we remember a man, probably from the Roman Province of Syria Palaestina, born to Greek parents, who heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Jew, and became the patron saint of a distant country full of people from everywhere except there.

So forgive me being confused. And to quote St Crocodile of Dundee - maybe the land doesn't belong to the people; the people belong to the land.

On this day of all days may we celebrate that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.

A brief discussion followed about the national symbol of England needing updating and presenter Keith suggested a pie. So the Keith Gooden Pie of Patriotism was born.

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