Last week a group of concerned citizens, myself included, lost a small licensing battle against the building of a slot machine arcade in the former White Hart Pub in the centre of Old Havant – just opposite St Faith’s church.
It felt like a bit of a tragedy at the time, to be honest. But only a few days later, last Sunday, we had the opportunity to reflect on much greater tragedy.
With a small touch of irony, we dedicated new name-plates on the Havant War Memorial – outside the church and just opposite the soon-to-open arcade.
The names were of Havant men who have died in the defence of our freedom since the Second World War – including the freedom to protest against any licensing or planning decisions that we oppose.
Together with their families, and many civic and military representatives, we thanked God for the sacrifice of those eight men.
Out of the tragedy of such sacrifice, there is at least the possibility of triumph over dictatorships and extremists who seek to dominate the world. This coming Palm Sunday, Christians will call to mind a triumph of Jesus of Nazareth when he rode into Jersusalem, the City of Peace, on a humble donkey announcing to the palm-waving crowd that he had come to rescue them.
Unfortunately, they thought that Jesus would rescue them from their immediate problems of Roman occupation, and were surprised at his choice of humble riding-animal.
But Jesus had a much more profound rescue in mind – the rescue of human beings from themselves, and from the evil that we do to each other.
For a short while, Jesus’ triumph turned to tragedy as the disappointed crowd nailed him to a cross when he failed to live up to their expectations.
But tragedy became triumph once again, with the news that three days later he had burst from his tomb brought alive by love.
Triumph and tragedy are part of the very essence of what it means to be human – as Christians across the world will be reflecting throughout the coming Holy Week.
We’ll be celebrating Palm Sunday with a special service at 9.30am so do join us.
St Faith’s Church, West Street, Havant, PO9 1EH
Contact: (023) 9249 2129 or email email@example.com