Bonfire Night – A Celebration of Ignorance

Usually the week before (at least) and the week after Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes night) on the 5th November fireworks are going off throughout the evening. And last night proved that to be no exception. It was laughable in some ways. Here’s the scene if you can picture it. American friends might struggle to picture it though.

We are in Church, one of the members leads the Church in a time of public prayer. All the time he is praying (and right from the start of the service actually) there are loud explosions and a continuous loud crackling of fireworks going on all round the Church building. All through the singing and through the preaching there continues to be loud explosions.

What is Bonfire Night you may ask? Originally it was designated by Government (Parliament) to be a day of public thanksgiving.

The Observance of 5th November Act 1605 (3 Ja. I, c. 1) also known as the “Thanksgiving Act” was an Act of the Parliament of England passed in 1606 in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.

Even though there might be some faint knowledge of the event – here’s how I read the significance: So here we are in a secular society that has all but forgotten God letting off fireworks that point back to an Act of Thanksgiving to the very God whose knowledge they seek to repress.

To be honest, back in my non-Christian days I was just as ignorant as those outside the Church last evening.

A Collect for 5th November, in Book of Common ...
A Collect for 5th November, in Book of Common Prayer published London 1689, referring to Gunpowder Plot and Arrival of William III (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the prayer on the right note the following prayer to God in giving thanks for the ‘Loving kindness to our Church and Nation, in the preservation of our Religion and Liberties’. Then later note further thankfulness to God that our ‘Holy Religion, which now again thou hast so wonderfully Rescued and Established a Blessing to us’.

What a contrast to our present day when for the State only the hypocritical husk of a true and lively religion remain. What a turn round from former days! The Christian Religion is under attack, of this there can be no doubt. But it is a double-edged sword because once Christian freedoms disappear it’s only a matter of time when other freedoms too will disappear. There’s a reason why so many freedom loving people want to live here – but that will change.

How the mighty have fallen! Here’s the opening paragraph to a prayer from 1606 upon the deliverance.

‘Forasmuch as almighty God hath in all ages showed his power and mercy in the miraculous and gracious deliverance of his church, and in the protection of religious kings and states, and that no nation of the earth hath been blessed with greater benefit than this kingdom now enjoyeth’.

It would be worth Prime Minister Cameron, his cabinet and government thinking on these things to discern how far we are removed from past glories and a reliance upon the grace of God to our Nation. The irony is that we as a Nation are just as reliant on the grace of God as we have ever been. But now it’s not openly confessed. Instead it is repressed.

These reflections I confess are based on one service in one Church on one evening. But I think the evening illustrates the chasm that is opening between the True Church of Jesus Christ and the sham of religiosity.

See my post from 2011.

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