‘Remember remember the 5th of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot.’
It’s that time of year when clocks are changed and we recognise ‘Winter is coming’
The Celtic festival of Samhain, marks the end of harvest and the beginning of the darker half of the year, coinciding with Halloween or All Hallows Eve. Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. That’s why people dressed in masks to fool the spirits.
And in this darkness, we celebrate with Light and fire. And burning a guy!
For Hindus Diwali, the Festival of light (Nov14th) symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
In the Quran, Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth - Al Nur (Surah 24:35) And Hasrat Isa (Jesus) is also called Light of God Nurullah ((4:174)
And Jesus who is known by Christians the ‘Light of the World’ … ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)
Or, in the words of the sufi mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi ‘There is hope after despair and many suns after darkness.’
With so much ‘Light’ in common it is so important in these dark days to strive to maintain the bonds of peace. To spread the light and help create interfaith harmony and community cohesion. To overcome hatred with LOVE (Mahabba). To simply Coexist. And live together without killing each other!
The opposite of xenophobia, the hatred of the ‘other’ is Phileo-xenia , love for stranger, the biblical word for hospitality. Practice hospitality. And thus entertain angels unawares….
But finally on a personal note, whatever your religion, in the words of J.K.Rowling’s Albus Dumbledore: "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times…. If one only remembers to turn on the light’
Rev Phil Simpson, member of the Christian faith
Date: Monday 9th November 2020