Services

Sunday Services

8.00 Eucharist

10.00 The Parish Eucharist

10.00 Junior Church

18.30 Evening Prayer

19.00 Benediction

Weekday Eucharists

Tuesday 10.00

Wednesday 19.00

Thursday 10.00

Friday 12.30

Saturday 18.00

Contact Details
Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3JG.
01823 354800
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Wednesday
Jul262017

Fr Julian writes...

I have been fortunate in the last few years to be able to go to Krakow, in Poland.  It is a beautiful city, rich in buildings and the arts, and its ancient centre is small enough to walk around easily, and large enough to cause wonder.  At one end is the Wawel, where the ancient palace and cathedral are situated, and at the other end is the Florian Gate, a reconstructed part of the medieval fortifications, now demarcated by the Planty, a ‘wall’ of trees where defensive walls once stood.  And in the middle is a huge square, with an amazing cloth hall and the basilica of St Mary, from the top of one of whose towers a bugler plays every hour.

Visiting now as a tourist, it is hard to recall how it is only in the last generation that the Communist ideology was decisively rejected in a comparatively peaceful uprising by the ‘Solidarity’ movement, led by a very ordinary steel worker, Lech Walesa.  In one of the communist suburbs, there is a beautiful three-storey modern church.  This is all the more remarkable as the communists refused to allow any place of worship to be built; after many hundreds of Poles were imprisoned variously for lengthy periods, under the leadership of the Cardinal Archbishop, Karol Woltya, later Pope John Paul II, churches were built to serve the new communities.

Not far from Krakow lies Auschwitz, synonymous with the barbarism of the preceding ideology, Nazism.  There, and in the nearby Auschwitz Birkenhau, hundreds of thousands of women, children and men were herded in like cattle in goods carriages, which were so crowded that they all had to stand for days on end, some dying standing up, to be walked through a gateway proclaiming ‘Work shall set you free’ or else straight to the platform to have a ‘nice shower’ which was in fact the means of their deaths, as they weren’t showers but gas chambers.

It was here that Ann Frank died, and also Maximillian Kolbe, about whom there is an article later on in this magazine, and having been made a saint, his feast day falls on 14 August.

In the course of the last 75 years, Poland has been gripped by Nazism and Communism, both of which have inflicted great suffering and privations on the people.  Attempts to end religious and racial diversity were unsuccessful, despite unimaginable horrors.  Political ideologies resulted in a divided and hurting people.  Recent movements towards democracy and Poland’s joining of the EU again have not gone smoothly.  It is still a very divided country, and with great extremes of wealth and poverty.  It would be easy to live there in a slough of despond, and believe that there is no hope.

And yet. 

We can learn from history.  St John writes that ‘the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it’.  That is no trite platitude, or a vain hope, or a pathetic attempt at comfort.  It is the truth.  The sacrifice of Maximillian Kolbe both in his living and his dying, shows that under even the most oppressive regimes or environments, the presence of God is apparent.  For those of us who may fear that we haven’t the strength or courage to be martyrs in a physical sense, we can draw on the example and prayers of those who did.  Their lives and death give the living, hope and God, glory.  'Ordinary' people, like Lech Walesa, didn't die, but lived for his beliefs.

Maximillian Kolbe, Lech Walesa, even you and me, may only be individuals and think we count as nothing, but is on such as that the kingdom of God is proclaimed and built.  Look at the example of those in the Old Testament, such as the prophets Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Samuel.  All these questioned their own worthiness and ability to further God’s purposes in the world, and look at what God achieved through them.  Look at the individual contributions made by the lives and deaths of Jesus first disciples.  Look to see how today people are refusing to give in and instead choose to live in hope.  And think how YOU can be that light in someone’s darkness.

With my prayers and all good wishes