Today, October 26th, the Church celebrates the life of Alfred the Great, ninth century king of the West Saxons, alone of English kings and queens he is called ‘the Great’. Alfred is one of ‘our’ saints at St Chrysostom’s. He is commemorated by a lovely stained glass window in the north aisle of Church.
Alfred waged a war against terror in his day using many different tactics to ensure peace, and when it was achieved he built up defences to preserve it. (The boat in the stained glass window reminds us how he established the navy).
Alfred was a scholar: ‘Education, education, education!’ could have been one of his mottoes. He restored learning and encouraged culture in his day to such an extent that his reign has been called a ‘cultural renaissance.’
Alfred was a man of faith. He attended mass daily, and gave half of his income to founding religious houses as centres of learning and care for the needy.
And in case we think he had no weaknesses – According to legend he also could be a bit of a dreamer, he was so preoccupied with the concerns of his kingdom that he let cakes burn.
Sovereign Lord, you brought your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: Awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world, and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.