We are at the time of year in Britain when a sense of sanctimoniousness becomes rather noticeable. The public display of virtue, particularly in the media, is very prominent. I am speaking of Remembrance Sunday to which the lead up, just like Christmas, seems to become longer every year. I may be wrong but I think that people only wore poppies on Remembrance Sunday itself at one time but they are now worn days, if not weeks, in advance as we all show how much we are against war and how much we support the brave soldiers who fought and died.
Do you detect a note of cynicism in my words? Well, there is. It can't be helped. Now that we have chased the goodness of God from our lives we are left with a void that must be filled with something and we effectively fill it with ourselves. I mean that we congratulate ourselves on the nearest thing to spirituality we have left which is our supposed concern for others and our abhorrence of violence. That is all well and good but do we have to make such a display about it? The big public exhibition of virtue we make at this time of year is a pretty tawdry thing. Especially when in most other ways we celebrate the shallow and the hedonistic, and push aside the one thing that really takes humanity beyond war, that being a genuine spiritual awareness. I'm sure churches all over the country will echo with pious platitudes on Sunday but what do they really mean? How many people are really prepared to put aside their egotism and selfishness which are the principal causes of war?
Of course, it is right to remember those who have died in a just cause but let us also remember that Christ did not approve of big displays of spirituality, and that is because he knew they were largely insincere. As he said:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray
to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father
which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
It is all very well to be against war but war takes more than one form, and at the moment we are deep in a spiritual war and this one must be fought. It cannot be sidetracked and there is no chance of a truce. It is not fought with guns and bombs but it has its own weapons which are the spiritual qualities including love of truth. It needs courage just like ordinary war and there will be casualties too though, in this case, it is not physical death we need fear. So perhaps what we should really be remembering at this time is the first war, the War in Heaven, which is actually still going on and which, there is reason to believe, may currently be approaching some kind of climax. Let us make sure we are on the right side