• Happy Easter! To all Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Shintoists and everybody else including the “Don’t Knows”!

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    Above, Lidgett Park Methodist church.

    NB: Because it wishes a Happy Easter to all, today’s title is likely to constitute and offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, s.2, and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, s.32 being construed by some as “racially or religiously aggravated harassment (non violent)”….

    Your Editor will therefore not be surprised if officers from Devon & Cornwall Police come knocking on his door!

    Today, Sunday 16th April 20017 is Easter Sunday.

    Happily, for once, your Editor can commend the BBC when one of it’s presenters described (correctly) Easter and in particular Easter Sunday, as the most important event in the Christian calender.

    That we can be genuinely pleased as such small morsels is only to be expected when we live in a country where major retailers think twice about stocking Easter eggs from a company that supplies a product that has a description of the meaning of Easter yet appears to have no compunction whatsoever about stocking Easter eggs from a Belgian company which have been Halal certified!

    Some British Gazette readers may be forgiven to being a little confused here. They are likely to be familiar with the requirements vis-à-vis the slaughtering of animals to meet the requirements of Muslims but Easter eggs?

    Allow us to explain: Part of the process of the preparation of Halal foodstuffs is the saying of a prayer by a Muslim over the particular foodstuff, be it a slaughtered animal or a manufactured chocolate confection. Think of it in the manner of a Christian saying Grace (a prayer) over a meal before he or she consumes it.

    The British Gazette would suggest that this is an incongruous situation and by stating thus the statement will likely be construed by some as “racially or religiously aggravated harassment (non violent)”….

    We would therefore like to apologise to the officers at Devon & Cornwall Police for adding to their workload on this of all days!

    Unfortunately – for the officers at Devon & Cornwall Police – the British Gazette has not finished yet!

    Three days ago, on Good Friday 14th April 2017, Channel 5 broadcast a documentary entitled “The Last Days of Jesus” between 6:05PM and 8:00PM.

    Your Editor watched it and it was indeed an interesting and informative programme. A particularly interesting part of the programme was the suggestion that the events Christians celebrate as Palm Sunday took place some considerable time earlier during Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles. This due to the fact that palm fronds are harvest-able only at this time and not during the time Easter occurs.

    The programme of course did not cover the one overriding and fundamental aspect of the whole series of events: that Christians which celebrate today, Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus Christ!

    The other FACT the programme noticeably failed to point out was that Christ did say that the kingdom over which He was talking about WAS NOT OF THIS WORLD!

    Which presumably was one (but NOT the central one) of the points the Almighty was making at the resurrection.

    What however was the most incongruous aspect of the programme was not the programme or it’s contents but the FACT that Channel 5 viewed (correctly) that it was NOT going to be a problem making a documentary that challenged a central aspect of the Christian faith and to actually go ahead and broadcast it on the second most important day of the Christian calendar!

    It is of course completely superfluous for the British Gazette to state that NO WAY would Channel 5 would have entertained the idea of making a controversial documentary about the central figure in the Muslim religion and broadcasting it on one of the most important (to Muslims) dates!

    Now at this point, had a tabloid such as the Daily Mail made this point, many of it’s readers would have roared in indignation. But then British Gazette readers know there is no point in roaring at their computer monitors. It is an inanimate object after all!

    Instead we would suggest to them that rather than roar indignation at many of their fellow citizens they should consider what the reaction would have been (to the claims and suggestions made in the Channel 5 programme) were it’s claims to have been printed in a book in Europe in say 1517 and not 2017.

    We all know the answer. They author and the publishers would have been tried for blasphemy and executed. Either by the barbaric hanging drawing and quartering (a brutal act that not even IS terrorists carry out) or by burning at the stake.

    One one level this reaction illustrates not only utter brutality but also complete unquestioning belief. The one thing you can say that 16th Century members of such organisations as the Inquisition and 21st Century members of IS is a complete and unquestioning belief in their own particular religion.

    The FACT is that one is the consequence of the other – which does not mean of course that every faithful believer is a monster or a terrorist.

    This is of course in stark contrast to many – including your Editor – who attended Easter Sunday morning service whose belief is very far from complete and unquestioning!

    One of the verses in the Bible your Editor has problems with is to be found in the 10th Chapter of the Book of Mark. It is verse 15: “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

    The interpretation is clear. Children by nature are trusting and gullible. For them, the cynicism of the world borne out of disappointment and broken promises is yet to come.

    What Christ was driving at was that religious faith is NOT a question of empiricism, of measurement, of recording and analysis of data. It is a question of faith. That of course is a road that the Channel 5 documentary could not and did not go down.

    For many it comes down to this: What happens when you die.

    It was Christopher Bullock in his book “The Cobbler of Preston” (1716) who first coined the idiom about death and taxes; “‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes,” and whilst a good accountant can assist in avoiding tax, no earthly authority can help you avoid death.

    For many – including your Editor – to questions such as, “Do you believe in the Gospels?”, “Do you believe in Heaven?”, “Do you believe in Hell?”, “Do you believe in life after death?” the answer comes down to this: “Don’t know.”

    For your Editor it is a case of following what I was told to do as a child. For me as a small child, going to church was not a question of choice. It was a command, an instruction, a requirement. Made of me by my parents. Both were Christians. Both were in the choir. Mother was a local (lay) preacher and consequently would sometimes be in the pulpit. My parents presence in the choir stalls led me frequently to be sat with another boy in the main body of the church.

    This morning’s service at the Anglican church in Cornwall I attended demonstrated the vast gulf in attitudes and practises insofar as child handling was concerned. Today’s service was interrupted on several occasions by a young boy (a pre school child) running around and disturbing the peace during the service. This had his mother chasing after him.

    For me, I could not help but recall my own somewhat painful experiences in church. Sitting in the pew meant standing up and sitting down and doing things the grown ups did. Any divergence from this would be meet by a sharp (and painful) clip round the ear from a Mr Ronald Righton (now dead and therefore not in a position to instruct Messrs. Carter & Ruck) who sat behind us.

    Today any adult doing this would find themselves arrested and charged with child abuse by the police and would be fortunate were they to avoid a custodial sentence.

    Times have changed.

    As for my two parents being members of the choir: They were also members of a group choir and regularly sang Handel’s great oratorio, “The Messiah” in which the words were taken from the Bible.

    Thus whilst Mark 10:15 is a concern, something far more uplifting is to be found in The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians – Chapter 15: vs 50-58

    Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
    Editor’s comment: Hopefully so!

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