Friday, 23 April 2010

Reclaiming St George

It is common nowadays to read reports about how we should reclaim the English Flag from the BNP, who have started using it as a symbol of their political stance on the issue of immigrants, and their desire to see a 'white' Britain. Every year, people are encouraged to display the English flag on St George's Day, to reclaim it as a patriotic symbol. One of my friends has changed her Facebook picture to the picture of the flag, and I think this is an act of patriotism, and not a political declaration. But there is an election soon......

However, for all this talk about reclamation, maybe it is time for Christians to reclaim St George - he is a Saint, after all.

As with many stories, we tend to remember only certain bits, and a lot of the details get ignored, or forgotten. So, we know about the dragon (or camel, as one article I read recently speculated), but we don't know about what the dragon was doing, and why it needed to be killed.

There are many parallels between the story of St George, and that of the story of Perseus, from the Greek myth, which is retold in the recent 'Clash of the Titans' film. St George comes across a kingdom which is being terrorised by a dragon (or camel; this is where I think the camel theory falls down somewhat) and a beautiful maiden has been tied to a rock at the water edge as a sacrifice, in order to try and appease the dragon and stop it attacking them any more. The dragon approaches the maiden, George approaches the dragon, and there is a battle, and George slays the dragon. Thus far, the two stories are similar, but they start to diverge here. 

Unfortunately, George was not allowed to marry the girl he had saved as Perseus did. The reward he had was very different. He started to preach to the people in that kingdom, and he saw many people converted to Christianity, and they were baptised, and George did great works for the sake of the Kingdom of God. 

St George's day has become, for me, at least, not a story about a man defeating a dragon. It is a reminder of a man who had a message and he preached that message to great effect. It is a reminder for me, and hopefully for every Christian, that God has given us a great message of salvation which needs to be told in order that others would believe. 

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