Friday, 22 August 2014

Peasants at War: Part 6 - Prayer in War-Time, Sept 1914

from Blount, Godfrey, Arbor Vitae,
Fifield, 1910, 3rd edition
The last page of the last ever publication of The Vineyard (September 1914), the journal published by the Peasant Arts movement to popularise their beliefs and lifestyle, is headed 'Prayer in War-Time'.  This prayer is not accredited to anyone, I think that it is written by Godfrey Blount who wrote numerous other prayers in The Vineyard (let me know if you know otherwise).

I can imagine Godfrey Blount leading the congregation with this prayer at The Country Church, Kings Road (demolished and now St George's Flats).

"O Father who hast given us our lives on one condition only, that we throw them not away recklessly, but spend them in true sacrifice of right labour, in making Thy Kingdom more greatly known: guide us in these days of severe trials and distracting difficulties, when the world has forgotten the laws of Life and, in its madness, plunged into unspeakable war.  And because the magnitude and horror of this war leaves us aghast and too bewildered to understand what motives can have inspired so incredible a disaster, prevent us from being swept away either by fear or exultancy; either from being lost in the excitement that the news of battles brings, or deterred by cowardice from facing, with brave hearts, what hardships we may be called upon to bear in our duty to our country and our God.

The Country Church, Kings Road, Haslemere
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum
"Help us to ignore our own hardships in remembering on whom the penalties and privations of war fall with the deadliest effect, and the lot of those who are close to the scene of war and who must consequently suffer so much more than ourselves.

"Let this Church and our prayers here, fill us with that sublime peace that cannot be shaken by any mortal strife and help to educate us in the things that pertain to real life in this world and in the next, so that we may be continually inspired with the knowledge that whatever nations and kings the world chooses to distinguish, there is for us only one Nation, the people who put their trust in Thee and Thy laws, and only one King, Thine own unutterable Majesty; and that whatever wars the world in its blindness may decree, there is only one war which Thou dost not visit with vengeance, the war we must always wage as Thy soldiers in Thine Army against everything that resists Thy Sovereignty.

The Country Church, Kings Road, Haslemere
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

"O Father, enlist us, feeble recruits as we are, once again into Thy battalions, for only so can we help to restore any peace to the world, actual or spiritual.

"Teach us Thy truth, O Father, King, Conqueror, that whatever happens to us we may be at real peace in our own hearts and under the mighty and impregnable shield of Thy wings.  Amen."

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