IT'S A PLACE OF WORSHIP


It was a very strange centenary of The Great War, if not totally delusional. Sunday, 11th September, 2014, St John's church put on a display of unifoms which might, on the face of it, seem appropriate. However, there were no air uniforms or soldier's uniforms or sailor's uniforms; there were instead Rainbows and Brownie's iter alia. What on earth were they doing in the Great War?

I love children and I know that Jesus Christ loved the, too. There is no harm in welcoming children but not on this occasion. I was expecting a pageant of things connected to the titanic struggle of that time but it was turned into something that was not only false but distasteful. The church was crowded but not with Christians. I would wager that the vast majority of the people were not any sort of Christian, and the only reason for their one-time visit to the church was togawp at their adorable precious ones.

Will they ever visit there again - I doubt it? They were shouting and clapping all through the service. What did the little ones make of it? Already there are adults in the congregation who are so deluded that they believe that Great Britain won the war. If History is worth anything at all it must be that it is a lesson learned.

What sort of rubbish might children learn from this travesty? Will they come to believe that Great Britain is made up of White Knights, mighty warriors with Christ at their elbow? Hardly anybody of the newcomers was interested in The Eucharist, If one were to pick a venue for the children to Parade, why not do it in the church hall where the coffee is served. That would be less sanctified than the church and it would have been more to some sort of point - I still have not heard what connection the Rainbows had with The Great War.

One young mother, in some baffling way, had managed to seat herself side saddle on the pew. The Christian altar was lost to her. She only had eyes for her precious little one gathing at the back of the church with the rest of them. Her obvious plan was to watch them parade all the way to the front. She was clapping like the best of them. The children were lovely but why was there an exhultation over nothing?

The crowd would have been at home in any mosque, synagogue, or Palace of Varieties in the land.

In great contrast to this spectacle was my experience at the hands of one woman, who reckoned she was the very highest authority in the church, who grabbed me in the church because I applauded when the organist played Verdi's Triumphal March after the service. It was after the service. Indeed, most of the congregation had already left. She grabbed me and, in a demented way, repeated "it's a place of worship, it's a place of worship".

I say again, the congregation have varying levels of sanctity when it suits them.

I have appended my own contribution to the centenary, one which I belive is directly conected to The Great War. I hope that bropwsers will see the connection and enjoy the read.

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The Great War

The Plan by General Count Alfred von Schlieffen.

It was never intended to be a "great" war. in fact, those who knew about these things reckoned it would end in just six weeks if all went to plan. At any rate that's how the Germans saw it. Germany was trapped between France in the west and Russia in the east, so she had to avoid a war on two fronts at the same time at all costs.

This was the problem confronting General von Schlieffen, the Prussian Chief of Staff.

Von Schlieffen was a military man of the old school. His nature was too keep slamming away until the issue was resolved to his satisfaction. With teutonic patience he put together a plan which properly covered all eventualities. It took 6 weeks for the Russians to mobilise, so France and Britain had to be crushed inside the 6 weeks. It had to be done - it would be done.

These were the two essentials of the von Schlieffen plan: a knockout blow to the west, followed soon by a move to confront Russia in the east after she had mobilised.

It was a very good plan, a German plan, so what went wrong? German pride was what went wrong, there was nothing wrong with the plan.

It all started in 1870 with the Franco-Prussian War. In short order the Germans beat France, then a European super power. Under the terms of the peace France had to cede Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. France was ardently in love with prestige and bitterly resented its loss. That was the first essential of the von Schlieffen plan. At the outbreak of a war, the whole world would know where the French army would be going. At the first opportunity France would invade and recapture Alsace-Lorraine. This was to be Germany's left flank, deliberately weakened. German troops were to fight on a mobile, almost guerrilla basis. Gradually they would tempt the French into plunging deeper and deeper into the rough country of Alsace-Lorraine. While Germany's right fist was knocking out the Allies, France would be embroiled in a completely separate war in Alsace-Lorraine.

This is when it went wrong.

The Germans were winning hand over fist against the Allies while their left flank was seen to be running away from them. They implored their commanding general officer to let them fight back. Very reluctantly he agreed. The Germans turned and fought. They fought so well that the French fled all the way back to France. Which is why when the German right fist turned left for Paris it soon found a French army in the way where no army ought to be. It had come from Alsace-Lorraine!

Taxicabs streamed from Paris with reinforcements and along with the routed army brought the German right fist to a halt. Everybody dug in and that was why they were in the same place for another four years. Meanwhile, the Russian mobilisation came and went.

Even though von Schlieffen died in 1905, nine years before the war started, it was still his perfect plan with almost no changes that was to be put into effect. It would have worked if only the French army had been tied up in Alsace-Lorraine.