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Viewpoint from Pat Stringer  08/11/2019

Dove rightPat Stringer
Reader, Parish of Great Yarmouth


as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


Remembrance Sunday a day for honouring heroes, thinking especially of those who lost their lives in wartime, members of the armed services and also civilians who lost their lives, together with those who grieve their loss
Sometime ago whilst on holiday, I was browsing through a second-hand bookshop, where the books were being sold to raise funds for the local church, when I came across a book by D W Cleverley Ford, a former Director of the College of Preachers, although this book is now out of date, I feel some of the things written are of relevance today
dove leftCleverley Ford wrote an article on ‘Peace’ and began with an account of a time when he was staying in a hotel in Denmark – with a group of 20 people, and they would be together twice a day in the dining room for meals
He said there was not much conversation because they represented many different nationalities which presented a language problem; but from time to time, however, some amusing incidents took place, which broke the ice and everybody would laugh.  Sitting nearby were a couple who also seemed to see the same jokes, as they saw and the company felt drawn to them
One day, everyone was sitting in the garden enjoying tea when it began to rain, so they all hurried away to find shelter, he found himself in a kind of summerhouse along with this other couple.  This was a situation where there was nothing for it but to talk, but it was not easy they found English was useless, French worse, so it had to be German.  When the man was asked if he had visited England he said “Yes, Coventry, Liverpool, and Bristol, but I did not see them nor set foot there”
Upon seeing Cleverley Ford raise his eyes in uncomprehending surprise, he said “I was dropping bombs on them in the war”.  This came from the couple to whom they had felt drawn.  This incident underlined again for Cleverley Ford and the people he was with, the stupidity of war and as he goes on to say: 
 “War is always stupid, stupid between nations, stupid between members of a local community or a family; stupid in an individual’s own life, their reason and their emotions, warring against each other, so that they become divided.  Yet it takes more than reason to do away with war. Intelligence and reasonable action are not the simple requirements to bring about a state of peace; and for one reason or another people do not operate solely on a basis of reason”
Peace, as the Bible understands it is not an achievement it is a gift which comes from God


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