St Edmund and the Wolf

St Edmund and the Wolf

St Edmund is closely connected with Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

In 1095 an Abbey was built as the centre of worship and devotion and remained a primary  witness to God inspired by St. Edmund himself. Here his remains were venerated until Henry VIII dissolved the monastery, when Edmund’s remains were taken to France. They now rest in a chapel in Arundel Castle.

Edmund’s story, however, leads us to Hunstanton in Norfolk.
When King Aethelweard of East Anglia died in AD855 he was the last of the Royal House of East Anglia, so his subjects sent word to their homeland of Angeln for a successor. A distant cousin named Edmund arrived, at what is now known as St. Edmunds Point in Hunstanton, to claim his kingdom. Since then Hunstanton has had a long and close association with St Edmund.

The story goes that Edmund later entered into battle against the Vikings, led by Ivarr the Boneless. The two armies fought somewhere near Diss. Edmund’s forces were defeated. The Vikings demanded that Edmund renounce his faith in Jesus Christ. When he refused they were merciless with him. They tortured him and eventually tied him to a tree where the archers used him as target practice. Finally, they beheaded him.

This is where the wolf comes into the story.

It is said that the Vikings discarded his head in the woodlands. Edmund’s followers later recovered his body but the head was missing.
Eventually they found it, guarded by a wolf which attracted the followers with his cry. Edmund’s head lay between its paws safe and untouched by all the forest animals.

So the wolf entered into the folk lore of St. Edmund.

I discovered this on a recent visit to Hunstanton were I came across the vestiges of a ruined chapel dedicated to him. There is very little left of that chapel but nearby is a statue of a wolf  (see photo above), a reminder of the story and of how, quite often, the animal kingdom is kinder to holy men and women than humans are.

Eternal God,
whose servant Edmund kept faith to the end,
both with you and with his people,
and glorified you by his death:
grant us such steadfastness of faith
that, with the noble army of martyrs,
we may come to enjoy the fullness of the resurrection life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

[Mr. G]

photo: Mr. G

Gathering with God

My friend Joyce Smith has sent me another of her lovely tweets for you to enjoy.

One of the current changes that the relaxation of Covid rules has made possible is that more people may gather together. This has brought joy to families who have been prevented from meeting. I was able to see my sister for the first time in 18 months and many of you can tell a similar story.

It is especially joyful for Christians to be able to meet for worship because sharing Eucharist and praying together or sharing in communal worship of other kinds is something Christians and other faiths know is important. The Quotation Joyce has selected from St. Matthew’s Gospel carriers a promise that when we gather together for prayer and worship, Jesus is amongst us.
Jesus is also with us whenever alone, we pray or are still in quiet contemplation, of course.

Gathering together does much to strengthen us as the people of God . We share in a very special Holy fellowship which is called Koinonia,  in which the Holy Spirit draws us not only to each other but to all who make up the Kingdom of God. That includes fellow worshippers throughout the world, but also those who are already in God’s nearer presence in heaven. We are part of a great company who on earth and beyond gather before God in His glory.

Whenever we quietly pray or engage with God in the Scriptures we draw close to Him. In the Church’s liturgy we say With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven and that means when we pray and worship alone or with others we gather at that thin place where God is especially near us and heaven is a breath away.

P.S. Being part of the Company of Heaven also means that the Church can never decline. It can sometimes grow more slowly that’s all!

[Mr.G.]

Yours Paw-fully

Pagli at play – photo Lynn Hurry

Excuse my not very demure posture but as you see I am rather pre-occupied.

As I hope you realize, this is Pagli, main sponsor of the Mr. G’s  Ponderings Blog

You may not know,- and why should you?-that Mr G. has now been sending out his Ponderings for exactly a year. The very nice people at Word press have kindly relieved him of his manual donation (as he prefers to call it) so many more months to come.
That being so, I have allowed him to take a little time off. Knowing how much you will miss the Ponderings, I gently refused his request for a mini-sabbatical of 2 months. Generously, I have given him a few days off this week and about 4 the following week.

This means that you will be Pondering alone for a short while.

As we reach this important anniversary, I congratulate myself for making it all possible with my threats and encouragement a year ago. I can purr and claw at will so Mr G has worked quite hard to keep the Blog fresh. Of course he’s been helped by a number of friends – Joyce and Gill and Diana and Piers (who is a wiz with the graphics) and Kay and Julia and Beth and very importantly Lynn. Her amazing photographs of foxes, birds, and other animals have introduced us all to the Life of the Vicarage Garden in all its variety.
Lovers of the fox pictures will be pleased to hear that we are planning a book of photos and reflections using some of Lynn’s selection. (she’ll have to wade through hundreds!) You’ll be the first to know when the book is produced.

Mr G always thought that his Blog could be a showcase for others and Joyce’s Tweets and Gill’s Lake District views of hills and flowers have enhanced the Blog. The recent little competition brought contributions of art, poetry and photography. There will be more competitions later.

We look forward to more contributions in the future.

Regular bloggers will be aware that God has played a big role in the Ponderings. That’s both deliberate and also joyous. You should always try to write about what you love and in the love that is given to make that possible. The last year or so has been difficult for all of us and we have been trying to focus on the otherness of our world, the contrasting light and amazing things in our world. Maybe we are learning to appreciate our God-gifted planet more than we ever did. The world of Nature,of creativity, of time for kindness with all seem to feel more real and more precious the more we are living closer to the things that threaten us.

We always need to keep telling ourselves – we are Stewards of the earth not owners. We are given the great work of cherishing all that we have received from our Creator. People might use threats that we shall be accountable and judged and blamed on the ‘day of judgement’ but even if that might be so, we cherish, value and enjoy the creative world around us now  because it makes us more human.; We enjoy and we love more because of it. It isn’t future blame but present delight which should enthuse us.

I hear Mr G waking from his nap now so I must scurry off to love creation a bit more. (Even if that means playing with a toy mouse rather than a real one!)

Blogging will return soon.

Here’s something to think over
It’s from a book of ponderings by Dag Hammerskjold who was General Secretary of the United Nations, until a plane crash took him from us. He was also a devout Christian. This little prayer to God, speaks volumes, especially as we move forward after such a difficult time. It also espresses an aspiration which fires this Blog.

For all that has been thanks;
for all that will be, YES!

Meanwhile pawfully and prayerfully I wish you a renewed vision, much joy and a delightful time.

Pagli – Ji