Monday, April 14, 2008
Southwark Cathedral bans 'Jerusalem' and ;I vow to thee my country'!
I was absolutely amazed to read in the Mail that Southwark Cathedral is banning the hymn Jerusalem. It is almost an ultimate Christian hymn and marries together many Christian themes, particularly spiritual combat. The only issue I have with the hymn is that it was ‘England’s mountains green because if Jesus as a child did visit this country as a child with Joseph of Arimathea-his uncle, according to the legend, he would have arrived possibly in Cornwall or Wales ,Britain being a Celtic Society with not an Anglo Saxon in sight! It is believed Joseph of Arimathea, (who provided Jesus’ tomb in the Bible), was a merchant trading for tin and often visited Britannia.
And did those feet in ancient times
Walk upon England's (!) mountains green
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On Englands pleasant pastures seen?
And didte Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builden here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear O clouds unfold! (see picture and ref in Rev)
Bringe me my cariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fightNor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
On Englands(!) green and pleasant Land.
Recent archeological finds do indicate that this trade was going on between the two countries at this time, as first century artefacts have been found in Tintagel.After the crucifixion and Whitsun, when the Apostles had been told to go into all the world, St Peter sent St Philip to Northern Europe and Philip sent a group of disciples led by Joseph to Britain, where they were granted twelve hides of land at Glastonbury or Ynys Witrin (The Isle of Glass) and built a small mud and wattle church there. St Patrick saw and recorded this church several centuries later and St David also created a small Celtic monastery there. It was always considered a very holy and special place.The Lamb of God, relates to the early Christian Church or Living Body of Christ coming to Glastonbury and establishing the Christian religion, which first taught that every human was precious in the sight of God, who wanted them all to be saved and live with him in Heaven and united its members by the Eucharist.Below:' Bring me my spear, O clouds unfold...
Blake contrasts this first coming of Christianity on these shores (GB), with the menace of rampant dehumanisation in factories, mines and places of business, which render people slaves again to machines with worldly masters making excessive profits at the expense of the good and happiness of all people, something that has become a fact of life from then till now. (Children in mines, long hours in factories, etc) Eventually even the people freed from the machines are chase riches and so forth which is not a problem as long as it is not at the expense of others as then they do not concentrate on spiritual gifts of lasting value.
This introduces an escalation in the realms of spiritual combat against evil. What these clerics call ‘militaristic’ overtones are connected with this. So are they objecting to God fighting evil, or even the teaching of St Paul? The Bow of Burning Gold belongs to the Victorious One, Jesus on his white horse in Rev 6:2, vanquishing evil with his arrows of desire at the end of Time, the chariots of fire accompany Jesus also –(Psalm 68:17 and Revelations). Christians are asked to fight evil and keep themselves fit for spiritual battle (filled with God not evil). St Paul himself says so in Ephesians Chapter 6:10-17. ‘Put on the whole armour of God so you can resist the devil’s tactics. For it is not against human enemies we have to struggle but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness of the world, the spirits of evil in the heavens.So stand your ground, with truth as a belt around your waist,and an upright life as your breastplate …always carrying the shield of faith so you can use it to quench the burning arrows of the Evil one. You must take salvation as your helmet and the Sword of the Spirit that is, the Word of God. It is not for nothing the church on earth is called the Church militant. Are they perhaps criticising St Paul as well-or don’t they understand the hymns?
The hymn ‘I vow to thee my country’ also, contrasts our known country with the country of God-the New Jerusalem building in the hearts of the Faithful. Just as warriors lay down their lives for their country, so do the spiritual soldiers do this for God This is a sort of ‘inner country’ of faith, suffering for it, being loyal to it, in fact the country of the Body of Christ, which increases silently as a bastion of love and endurance in the world and in heaven and works for peace. I find this beautiful and as for this spiritual plan of salvation of God’s how is it not glorifying Him? Or is the Church of England dumbing own now? Will the clergy not understand there is a spiritual war raging now, with people all doing their own thing and not worrying how it affects others. Snatching children the innocents, using them as a commodity, youth acting like aliens, no moral rules. Yet they ban hymns which encourage the church Militant (those of us stil here on earth) from fighting evil. How do they think God wants us to fight evil, not by talking it to death that's for sure. The Church, the Body of Christ, we are God's hands in the world and we need help and spiritual direction from clergy not discouragement and spurius disapproval of hymns which have inspired millions to do God's Will and fight evil, with a vision of New Jerusalem a symbol of heaven.
I am at a loss to understand this ban, and wonder whether the clergy have gone soft .. I would have thought in my own little way, that to fight Evil (and just look around to see his work and how it possesses people to do terrible things!) was to glorify God, Love and Truth. Perhaps they should also look at the origins of the flag of St George of England which enfolds all these principles-the red blood on the white Lamb-the flag of Paschal Sacrifice.