As we all gathered to watch fireworks explode, bonfires ignite and sparklers glow at the weekend, I wonder if we stopped to think of the significance of the occasion.
Whilst at one level it is a quaint tradition and marks, in some ways, the beginning of the longer nights and the winter weather, it is also an occasion which is not a highlight of the ecumenical calendar. It does not do much for our relationship with some other churches as it remembers a time when the Church was riven with political dispute and things were not good.
Perhaps at a time of increasing political uncertainty we can remember not just the events surrounding the Gunpowder Plot, but also seek, as a contemporary Christian community, to offer fresh insight into the way the Church connects with civic life and political decision making. Much can be achieved when we stand with one voice together.
Bonfire night is then not a moment for us to remember an incident of division and violence which draws to a gruesome end. It is an opportunity for us to renew our common hope and commitment to Christian witness as churches together contribute so much to our civic and political life. As the lights of the fire and fireworks illuminated the evening, may we together share the love and light of Christ today.
The Reverend Canon Christopher Burke
Vice Dean and Canon Precentor