Thursday, 6 November 2014

Is it time to move on... or perhaps not!?

I realised late last night that indeed it had been Guy Fawkes (5th November) - it kind of felt like a damp squib, to be honest. Certainly in South Africa there was very little mention of the event, compared with previous decades. Perhaps this has a lot to do with Diwali taking a lot of the "firework" attention away from Mr Fawkes. I am sure that many pets across the land were quite relieved not to have many crackers going off again last night!

So, here is my question: 
Is it perhaps time to move on from Guy Fawkes and to "Remember" someone else OR is there still a place for us to remember the 5th November as Guy Fawkes night?

You see, I think that most of us don't even know who or what we are celebrating/remembering when we light fireworks on the 5th November. Do we realise that the tradition goes back 409 years when Guido Fawkes was found guilty, along with 13 others, of plotting to blow up a building in the British parliament? He was executed for his role in this plot and their attempt to kill King James.

The people of England were then encouraged to remember this event by burning effigies of Guido Fawkes on the anniversary of the "Gunpowder plot." Over the years, the effigy became known as the "guy" made of straw and soon the whole event took on the name of "Guy" Fawkes.

On the other hand, some scholars have portrayed Guido Fawkes as a positive character, someone who was willing to challenge the government and to put his life on the line for effective change. Sure, his methods are questionable, but we must remember that he lived in the 1600's. In this era, life was short, brutal and impoverished for most of the population. One scholar, has even suggested that we should remember Mr Fawkes as "the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions."

I can just see that things in our own Parliament are getting out of hand. Any time a member of an opposition party speaks out against the government, they are vilified and labelled as "disruptive." Agreed, sometimes our modern politicians use questionable ways of speaking the truth (e.g. The EFF's chant... "Pay back the money! Pay back the money!"), but the truth is usually very uncomfortable for those who wish to hide from it.

So, here is my brief conclusion. I will remember Guy Fawkes as a day where people should be able to have freedom of speech. If what is preached/taught is uncomfortable for those in power, then perhaps they need to listen more to the cries of their people. I will also remember that my Saviour was crucified for opposing those in religious authority. The truth cost him his life.

What are your thoughts on Guy Fawkes? Please let me know.

Living in Grace

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