Thursday, February 13, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #24-"England From the Romans to the Magna Carta"

Avalon Chronicles #24: "England From the Romans to the Magna Carta"
by Allen Clark

     We recognized in England its incredible contribution to the history of Christianity and the roots of spiritual faith in the founding of our own country. The Christian Travelers Guide to Great Britain points out, "To forget our history is the first step to the abandonment of our faith, the triumph of secularism, the ascendancy of New Age spirituality and the rebirth of paganism."
     In 410 AD the Romans departed England for the defense of Rome itself. The Saxon invasions began and the Saxons controlled most of Britain except for a few parts of Wales and Cumbria until the Normans came in 1066 from, where else, Normandy, the site of of the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944 of Fortress Europe held by the Germans. During the sixth century several Saxon kingdoms were prevalent, but Christianity through the upholding and preservation of the Scarlet Thread (knitting together the garment of salvation) maintained its solid influence and most Saxons eventually were converted to Christianity. In 793 the Saxons were invaded by pagan Viking raiders and this began almost 300 years of constant conflict and destructive raids. When the Danish attacked in East Anglia in 865, a Christian king, Alfred the Great, fought them fiercely. In 973 Edgar was crowned the first king of England in a ceremony in Bath.
     In 1066 William, the Duke of Normandy, attacked Saxon England, initiating a deliberate policy of destroying Saxon culture by destroying churches and sacred shrines. Christian clergy were replaced by Normans. Eventually the basic English culture prevailed and the Normans were assimilated. In Scotland in the late 11th century the Scottish church came in to the Roman Catholic fold ending a long-time influence of Celtic Christianity.
      England became a discovery, unknown to me previously, that the history of Great Britain was one of constant conflict between Celts, Druids, Romans, Saxons, Danes, Vikings, Normans, Welsh, French, and Scots. The ground of Great Britain has absorbed lakes of human blood. Much blood flowed due to religious strife and that condition was to be prevalent for several more centuries. It was not just pagans versus Christians, but unfortunately warring Roman Catholics and Protestants.
     This beautiful planet of ours, created by our God, has been continuously scarred by the slashes of swords wielded by humans killing other humans. It began with Cain and Abel and has continued through the millenia even until the present day. The strife of the sword will continue until the Lord's second coming. What we must understand is the true enemy of humankind is not philosophy or religion or economics or national pride or boundaries, but God's adversary, the devil, Satan, thrown from the heavens in ages long past. That enemy directs himself through the captains and the kings of the earth. Only our King will be the final victor of all the ongoing tumults, tribulations, and turbulences. For, as the hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," proclaims, For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe, ...The body they may kill: (but) God's truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever,...a bulwark never failing."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #23: "A Tribute to a Valiant Warrior and Gracious Gentleman"

Avalon Chronicles #23: "A Tribute to a Valiant Warrior and Gracious Gentleman"

Allen Clark Web Site:
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     Regarding the messages emanating from Linda's and my Nov. 2013 visit to England it has been my intention to proceed chronologically and end with the one I will submit today. My pace is unhurried and it may be several months before I write them all. We were on our trip at all due to the invitation of retired Air Force Col. Chuck Walker, our friend in Dallas, married to Dede (formerly Casad). For a number of years Chuck has traveled to Norwich, England to participate in the meetings and commemorations of a trust which has been established in Norwich to honor the Americans of the Second Air Division of the Eighth Air Force who served in WWII at fourteen air bases in the vicinity of Norwich, which is northeast of London near the North Sea. The trust especially commemorates and honors the 6,881 American airmen who were killed flying missions against Germany from these bases. Colonel Walker flew 35 missions in B-24 bombers from these bases.
     On our last day in London, where we had proceeded, after a marvelous trip to Norwich for Great Britain's Nov. 10, 2013 Remembrance Day, we were joined by Chuck and Dede and some English friends at a memorial service in the American Chapel of St. Paul's Cathedral, after which we went to dinner across the street at Strada Italian restaurant. The day we left Norwich I wrote, "From our new friendships and experiences we have derived on this visit to England a new sense of dignity, civility, use of language, sense of history, and continuity with our own United States of these ancient peoples. Especially we have acquired an unparalled appreciation of the commitment, dedication, valor, and sacrifice of our Army Air Force men and women who served from 1942-1945 in those bases around Norwich."
     Upon our departure from the restaurant on that final night of Nov. 14, 2013 I continued in the spirit of the notes from days before by going to the end of the long table where we were seated to say some special personal words to Col. Walker. I had written these words, "This service (of the men of his unit) is exemplified in remarkable fashion in the embodiment of an extraordinary patriot, our host, Colonel Charles Walker. He does not consider himself a hero, but to this younger soldier of a later war, he stands tall in my eyes as a warrior who arose with his crew, heard a briefing, climbed aboard his B-24 Liberator bomber at his airfield at Tibenam, cruised down the runway 35 times to rain destruction on the enemy in Germany. He returned home to marry, raise two children, and  contribute to the building of our great America along with the other members of his 'Greatest Generation.'" I continued, " We sons of today we salute you sons of an earlier day. You lit the paths in whose footsteps we would walk to continue to serve the cause of peace and freedom for those who would follow us."