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The Rockin' Rev January 2020

ROCKIN REV

The Gate of the Year:
A Message to a Troubled Nation

2019-20

A new year is dawning and it's time to say goodbye to the old. We look forward with anticipation of that which is before us. But having passed through the gate of the year, none of us can know for certain what the New Year will bring
 
There is perhaps a great lesson and an enduring truth to be learned from a past generation. In December 1939, Great Britain was at war and the nation was gripped in the clutches of fear
 
King George VI was the reigning monarch. Amid the gloom he resurrected a custom his father had launched previously — a royal Christmas Day broadcast. In the uncertain last days of 1939, the king spoke words of peace to calm his nation and his empire. He reminded them of the only true King, the One who can provide true peace and real rest in such troubled times
 
As King George concluded his message of encouragement, he quoted a poem that had been brought to his attention by his young daughter, Princess Elizabeth
 
The poem that she brought to her father's attention was written by British poet Minnie Louise Haskins (1875­1957). Published in 1908 and titled God Knows, the poem gained popularity with a new title, The Gate of the Year, taken from the poem's first line
 
King George VI wasn't renowned for being a compelling speaker but he brought inspiration and reassurance to his people by quoting the poem:
 

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year; "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown".  And he replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way"

 
Upon the death of King George (1952), Princess Elizabeth became the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Remembering the poem, her father had read so many years before, she had the words engraved upon brass plaques and attached to the gates of the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle
HAND OF GOD
The words of the poem were a message of assurance to a nation at war. They were words of comfort, hope, encouragement and reassurance. They were words that many before and since have found to be true — when the future is uncertain, the safest place to be is in the Hand of God

Happy New Year

 

Rev Brian Hall

Vicar, St Andrew’s Church

 

as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine

 

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