see lower down for services!
I once attended an Act of Remembrance where, at the end, a lone piper played ‘The Piper’s Lament’ and marched away. The atmospheric drone and music of the pipes faded away into the distance. It was moving and evocative and appropriate to the sombre occasion.
The tune played was a Scottish folk song – ‘Flowers of the Forest’ – and ancient song that has come through the generations. The first version was by the Scottish poet Jean (Jane) Elliot. In her version of the song, it is a lament for the defeat of the Scottish army in the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
The Floore o’ the Forest, that faught aye the foremost,
The pride o’ oor land lie cauld in the clay.
A song can act as a vessel, holding and then pouring out our sorrows. ‘Flowers of the Forest’ is one such song. All through its long history, it has rendered mourning in sound.
There is a little known book of the Bible called ‘Lamentations’ and the entire book is poetic. It contains community and individual laments. ‘Lament’ is a passionate expression of grief and sorrow, or disappointment and regret. It laments the destruction of Jerusalem and the pain and loss inflicted on its people.
When we come to Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday this year, I suspect the tone will be one of lament. Lament for loss of lives, limbs and livelihoods. This was seen and experienced in two World Wars; in warfare in the intervening 80-odd years; and is particularly in our minds at this time in Ukraine and Russia; and Israel and Palestine. And sadly, there are more areas of conflict in the world today, but out of the news.
Words are hard to find to express feelings, thoughts, hopes, sadness about the present situation. And perhaps being circumspect with words might help.
This November in the silence when we recall those who have been sacrificed in war, I will be lamenting that loss; and praying for those caught up in the current conflicts, and asking for peace in the name of the Prince of Peace.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
As ever - John
Services and Events in November & December 2023
Sunday 26th November Christ the King
8am Holy Communion Harnhill
10am Parish Communion Poulton
10am Word and Worship Harnhill
3pm Choral Evensong Gloucester Cathedral
the Vicar is Preaching
Saturday 2nd December
4pm Advent Community Gathering Ampney St Mary
Sunday 3rd Dec Advent Sunday
8am Holy Communion Ampney Crucis
10am Parish Communion Down Ampney
Sunday 10th Dec 2nd Sunday of Advent
8am Holy Communion Poulton
10am Parish Communion Driffield
Friday 15th Dec
6-8pm Christmas Community Gathering Driffield
Sunday 17th Dec 3rd Sunday of Advent
8am Holy Communion Ampney St Peter
10am Parish Communion Ampney Crucis
5pm Carol Service Poulton
Wednesday 20th Dec
9.30am School Christmas Service Ampney Crucis
5pm The Harnhill Nativity Harnhill
join in the Nativity Story when Harnhill
The Church is turned into a stable! Lots of fun for children of all ages!
Thursday 21st Dec
7pm (30 mins) Community Carols by the Old Chapel Bench Ampney Crucis
Near the school. Wrap-up well and bring a torch!
Sunday 24th Dec 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve
10am Parish Communion Poulton
3pm Crib Service Down Ampney
5pm Carol Service Ampney St Peter
8pm ‘Midnight at Bethlehem’ –
First Communion of Christmas Driffield
11.15pm Midnight Communion Poulton
Monday 25th Dec CHRISTMAS DAY
10am Family Carols Ampney Crucis
10am Family Communion for Christmas Day Down Ampney
11.30am Classic Holy Communion (BCP) Ampney Crucis
Sunday 31st Dec The First Sunday of Christmas
10am Parish Communion Harnhill