Thursday, 23 April 2015

Where's the dragon?

I took the car in for a service this morning and on the walk back passed a local primary school.  The children arriving in a constant stream were in fancy dress - but then I noticed that, in fact, they were only representing two characters.  The girls were dressed as a Princess and the boys as St George!  Oh, there were also one or two dragons!!

It reminded me, being April 23rd, that  today is St George's Day and the school I was passing is, in fact, called St George's!  I suspect by the end of the day their teachers will have had just enough of that pesky dragon!!

The truth is that until 1552 Edward The Confessor was England's patron saint.  Eventually he was displaced by St George - a saint with a dragon myth story attached - a story probably brought back by the Crusaders.

Historians tell us that George is an historical figure.  That he was a Christian in the military service of the Emperor but that when Diocletian ordered every soldier to burn incense to him, George refused and maintained his Christian faith.  As a result he was beheaded on 23rd April 303.

I wonder how much the 'man on the Clapham omnibus' knows about St George?  Perhaps not too much.

For myself, I think I would have preferred it if we had kept Edward the Confessor, but George's story is surely inspirational too - not the story about the dragon (which probably never happened!) but his martyrdom for Jesus Christ.  One of the many in Roman society who resolutely stood firm in their beliefs and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

So on this St George's Day I thank God for all who are guided by integrity and conviction - especially for those Christian saints who put serving God and loving their fellows higher than their own comfort or lives.

In a few moments I shall retrace my steps and go back to collect the car - replete with two new front tyres - and being the end of the school day I expect to meet with some grumpy and exhausted looking dragons!

Best wishes,

Ian

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