There is increasing evidence that the editor no longer reads the articles placed in the newspaper critically. Sometimes the most obvious mistakes are made, up with which the later Sir Winston would not have put but which featured often in the Grauniad. Take this as a recent example:

Up to half of people died when the Black Death swept through Europe in the mid-1300s.

I wondered whether the editor had read the title, saw who wrote it and concluded that having obtained his own degree at the LSE he would not have a hope of understanding what the gentleman scientist had said so simply signed it off. Perhaps the words following ‘A pioneering study analysing the DNA…’ confirmed him in his misconception.

However, such mistakes are evident even to the man on the Clapham omnibus to whom the learned judge appealed, and are just as likely to appear in the work of this uneditored writer as in that which has passed the mis-scrutiny of the most eagle-eyed editor when presented with academic superiority. ‘Trust the science’ we have often been told of what was heralded as a new Black Death, but as the ASA has noted recently in relation to the green-washing of a bank without borders, it is possible to present the science without disclosing all of the relevant and material facts.

Now I am sure you have seen the obvious mistake that the editor missed, but did you see the second? The context of the article is Europe, so we do not need to consider death rates outside Europe, which may have been more or, it is thought perhaps, less than that among Europeans. There is a missing article in the sentence; possibly also a qualifier, and adjective or adjectival phrase, for the word people which would be helpful towards the understanding of what is said.

But the second mistake is perhaps even more clear: that there are no survivors today of the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 14th century, tells us quite clearly that all of the people of Europe have died who lived in the time of the Black Death. It was not simply half of them, and in the manner of counting deaths from the recent plague, all of them having had contact with the Black Death and were therefore Black Death deaths.

Science is useful, but when you hear the words ‘Trust the science’, ask: Which science? The science of yesterday, of today or of tomorrow? Let the scientist remember that the science of today is often overturned by that of tomorrow. Is the certainty of what science says 5%, 70% or 95% ? But as every man who goes into a betting shop knows, even a cert (100%) does not win every race.

But there is one who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines). He may be trusted when he speaks, so when you hear his voice do not harden your hearts against him. Jesus cries out: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I shall give you rest. We of today must all die as those of the 14th century did, but he has overcome death by giving his own life on a cross, and as he rose from the dead, he shall raise us from the dead when he comes again.

Trust the science, but know its limits, and do not be carried about with various and strange ideas that are like shifting sands. But better trust Jesus who said: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.


I normally think that when a thing is referred to by the initial letters of its proper name there is no need to add an S to pluralise it. The plural S is hidden behind the initial capital letter. So we have, for example, OS. You would not ask how many different OSes are there? You would ask how many different O(perating) S(ystems) are there. The plural s is hidden. There are exceptions of course but these prove the rule for the combination of the initial letters has become a noun in itself which does not describe the same thing as the string of words describes, so though we refer to LASER, if we have two sources we shall speak of having two lasers.

I should also like to make a further exception in response to a suggestion by a Western oligarch that one country become an special administrative region of another country. I shall refer later to this as the Type B proposal. That other country is well known for its SARS which were first identified there about twenty years ago. Much effort is put into the elimination of these SARS for they are quite dangerous things. The effects that they have on the people of that country are quite severe and if left uncontrolled would have serious adverse social and economic consequences, so the (dis)benefits of these SARS must, so we are led to believe, be curtailed at all costs.

The truth of these remarks would of course be clearly seen if the doctrine behind this suggestion were pressed to its logical conclusion, and it was proposed that the other country should become a special administrative region of the one. The objective of the underlying doctrine would be equally achieved. I shall refer to this as the Type A proposal.

Both proposals are the logical outcome of the foundational doctrine held by the other country, so why would not a Type A solution be acceptable to it? Is it a fear that it, as a SAR, would go the way of all other SARS?

Harvest time

It is the end of harvest time.

If you received the letters ‘himnnsy’ in Scrabble, you might think you had been dealt a loser, unless you were second to play and the first word put down before you was ‘groin’. On the other hand ‘harvest’ is full of possibilities, you would stare at the vast array knowing that would not starve for choice as you share the heat with your opponents, just as the pastor demonstrated in his children’s talk today, and when you add a single letter to them the field is fully ripe to harvest. There will be no tares or tears when your turn comes round. But there were two words he did not mention, probably because they were not in line with what he wanted to say today, but do you see them?

‘Have rest’ – which seems to be quite appropriate after the harvest. The summer was long, warm and wet enough; the fields have enjoyed the prolongation of this most suitable of weathers; the work of harvest in the fields was hard, onerous, perhaps dull and tedious also, but ultimately rewarding. The recompense for the work is safely stored away, delivered to the miller, and whatever else needs to be done before the winter falls upon you, and what then? You have rest. Surely, after the harvest you have rest, and there it is in the very word itself.

As we look at this world, we see that the fields are white unto the harvest. Unto – what a word! It is not often used today, but it is familiar in this context. The fields are white ready to harvest. This is the Lord’s saying to his disciples. He described the world as a field in which a crop is growing, and amongst the crop are weeds (often called tares) which are also growing. We find it hard to tell the difference between what is the good growth and the weeds as they look alike until the fruit is produced. One day, when the harvest is ready, he shall send his angels to gather in the harvest. The sickle shall be thrust in; the harvest gathered home; and the tares to be composted shall be sent.

On that day of his harvest, we shall have rest. In this world we toil, struggle, suffer pain, illness, disease and affliction but in the new world that shall follow the harvest God will wipe away every tear from our eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Are you ready for that day? The ancient Latin text, not stated here in full, expresses it well:

Dies iræ, dies illa,
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus iudicetur.
Rex tremendæ maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.
Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuæ viæ:
Ne me perdas illa die.
Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti Crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.
Iuste Iudex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.
Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.
Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

It speaks of the coming harvest day, the unveiling of the book recording all of our deeds, the judgment that follows, and of the pardon that has been bought for us by the Lord Jesus by, following his incarnation, his death on the cross. Hope of pardon for the guilty is underlined by a reference to the woman taken in adultery (here named as Mary (Mariam)) and one of the two who were crucified with Jesus. The poem goes on to speak of the worthlessness of our own prayers, representing all of our religious devotion and effort, to obtain pardon and salvation for us, it is the gift of God to those who commit themselves to the one who died for them, as the adulteress and the thief did, closing with a reminder that we must prepare for that day.

When the harvest has been brought home, will you have rest?