Tag Archives: Winston Churchill

Trumpets in the Morning

Lawrence Lipton’s poem Trumpets in the Morning leans on the Jewish legend that the Satan misses something of life in heaven. Reb Yussel heads for the synagogue as usual but on this occasion the unusual happened. His shadow ran ahead of him up the steps, shows itself on the wall and then turns into a majestic prince with garments to match and an offer of much knowledge—even knowledge of the future. Reb knows it is the proud Satan who was banished after a failed coup against God—so they say—but he treats him with respect. Yussel doesn’t want to know about the future; instead he asks the proud one who has so much knowledge:

What is it you miss more than all else

Of heaven’s bliss?

The Satan pondered long.

Bowed down his head, then sighed and said:

“Trumpets in the morning,” and then was gone.

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Sir Winston Churchill arranged his own funeral, so certain was he of the eternal dimension to life.

At his own direction, the great hymns of the Church were played and the beautiful liturgy of Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer used……

….. and then, and Churchill had planned this too: a lone bugler, located at the very top of the dome of St.Paul’s, began to play “taps”: the international signal for the ending of the day.

As the last note floated over the congregation, another bugler – also at Churchill’s direction – located directly across from the first bugler – began to play Reveille.

That’s Easter – God’s triumphal trumpet blasting out the stirring strains of new life – life lived in Resurrection glory – here and hereafter!

 

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Gossip 2

During Churchill’s last year in office, he attended an official ceremony.

Several rows behind him two gentlemen began whispering. “That’s Winston Churchill.” “People say he is getting senile.” “They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men.”

When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to the men and said, “Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!”

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Many years ago the Moody Church News carried a humorous story about a woman in a small town who was know for being a gossip.

One day on vacation she visited the offices of The Chicago Daily News. She was wearing a white dress and inadvertently leaned against a wall where a freshly printed copy of the front page was hanging.

It was a hot, humid day, and some of the print came off on the back of her white dress.

Later, as she walked down the street to meet her husband, she noticed that people walking behind her were snickering.

When she reached the place where her husband was waiting, she asked him if there was anything on her back that shouldn’t be there.

As she turned around, he read the large black reversed letters: sweN ylaiD. Realizing the appropriateness of the words, he said, “No, dear, nothing’s on your back that doesn’t belong there.”

(actually, when I was a child, we had a neighbour who was nicknamed “The News of the World”!)

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Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham, one of the pioneers in the field of political economy, was a member of the Board of Directors of one of London’s great hospitals, and gave a vast amount of time and interest to it.

After his death in 1832, it was discovered that he had bequeathed his rather considerable       fortune to the hospital. He also stipulated that his skeleton, stripped of flesh and dressed in his well-worn business suit, should be mounted on a moveable platform and rolled up to the head of the director’s table whenever the Board met.

To complete the display, a death mask on top of which was his old hat, crowned his       skeleton.

For more than one hundred years, the secretary of the Board added these words to the       minutes of every meeting: “Jeremy Bentham: present but not voting”

 

Every Easter Day, there is a danger: we listen again to the Gospel narrative of resurrection and rightly we wonder at the miracle.  But, so often many of us leave it at that.  We don’t often notice how it pertains practically to us and our personal and contemporary situation.

It’s so often almost a case of “Christ present, but not voting” insofar as we feel that he isn’t there for us in our personal life – not guiding us, challenging or directing us here and now.

Christ present, but not energising us for new life in the world.

But because of Easter, we are given a new insight into ourselves, what we are and what we can become.

Eternal life begins now – not when we die.  Eternal life means an eternal quality of life now, as well as later.

It means a life lived in faith, a life lived in the promise, a life lived in the security of the knowledge of the love of God

Winston Churchill arranged his own funeral, so certain was he of the eternal dimension to life?

At his own direction, the great hymns of the Church were played and the beautiful liturgy of Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer used.  And then – and Churchill had planned this too – a lone bugler, located at the very top of the dome of St Paul’s began to play taps: the international signal for the ending of the day.

As the last note floated over the congregation, another bugler – also at Churchill’s direction – located directly across from the first bugler, began to play reveille.

the stirring strains of new life, life lived in resurrection glory – here and hereafter

You can still see what is left of old Jeremy Bentham, sitting upright, at University College, London. – not a pretty or inspiring sight! “Jeremy Bentham present, but not voting”

What a contrast to the One present forever and voting a better, deeper, broader, higher and wider life for us all – here and now and always!

Jeremy Bentham - still in the closet

 

 

Jeremy Bentham – still in the closet

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