Wednesday, 08 December 2021

Sacrificial service

OVER the last week we have been remembering in various ways those who gave their lives

OVER the last week we have been remembering in various ways those who gave their lives in war for the service of our country.

There have been services of thanksgiving and acts of remembrance at churches and war memorials up and down the country.

With great pomp and solemnity, we remember the fallen and resolve to try to live more peaceably in the future, both in our own lives and also in our national engagement with the wider world.

There is another class of hero, however. That is those who give their lives not in war, but in peace, to the service of our country, and of their fellow men and women.

Their sacrifice is not (usually) to death but nevertheless it is a sacrifice of their entire working life, each hour carefully gifted to the building of a better world for those who come after.

They don’t do it for the money for these roles are not usually the best paid. They don’t do it for status or privilege because that is now conferred in the strangest of places. They simply do it for love.

Of whom do I speak? I refer to those people without whom our world would cease to function in any kind of civilised way at all.

I refer to the educators, those to whom we entrust our children each day at the school gate, who work hard under often impossible political expectation to do their very best for the next generation.

I refer to the healers and carers, those who think more of how to improve the wellbeing of their neighbour rather than their own.

I refer to the clergy, who give their lives to remind us that there is more to life than just the stuff we see.

It is these people, working quietly and unpretentiously in the background of our day to day, who give us the community and environment that we share together. Industry and commerce are important, yes, but without this other, this small matter of community wellbeing, the wealth that business brings is impotent.

This year there are two significant personal milestones for two of the leading figures in our local churches.

This month Rev Duncan Carter celebrates 25 years as rector of Holy Trinity Church and next month Fr Martyn Griffiths, the rector of St Mary’s Church, will celebrate 40 years as an ordained priest in the Church of England. Both men have in their own inimitable ways given their entire lives to the service of this and other communities.

I am sure neither of them will thank me for drawing attention to their ministries but I am sure that there will be many hundreds, if not thousands, of you reading this who will be glad of this knowledge and will want to give thanks to God that, even in this day and age, there are still those out there who care.

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