There has been a marvellous response to the new Banner which is being made and which will hang at the foot of the link corridor to the Panbride Hall. The concept was introduced at the Harvest Thanksgiving Service, where all those who were present were given a paper leaf, and invited to write their names on the leaf. The leaves were then transferred onto fabric and the names embroidered on to the fabric leaves, after which they will form the leaf canopy of a tree which would also be made of fabric.
At the time of writing (late October, since I will be in Bangladesh when the deadline for this article comes) there are well over 200 leaves and it is planned that this be a work in progress until the Homecoming Service on 29th November when hopefully we will be able to get a few more names as people return to Carnoustie Panbride for this special service. There is still time for others who wish to have a leaf on the tree to give us the details. The Banner when completed will be a wonderful reminder of this special time in the history of Carnoustie Panbride.
Flags and banners are important to people of all nations and creeds. A simple piece of fabric, often flown from a pole or mast, a flag’s importance is in its symbolism and is most commonly used to symbolise a country. In Bangladesh, before school begins each day, the pupils line up in their school playground as the Bangladesh Flag is raised and the National Anthem is sung.
National flags are potent patriotic symbols, and there are times when there is anger at the seeming misuse of a national flag, as recent events in Libya illustrated.
Of course flags are used by groups of people who have something to celebrate – the Saltire at international sporting events, during this year of Homecoming and on Andy Murray’s sports shirts.
Banners are also used by groups of people who have something to protest about as illustrated at the Make Poverty History Marches a few years ago. Flags are used by groups of people who have their community to affirm – the flag is a sign that they belong to each other, as they stand beneath the flag in a common cause, as seen by the standards of the Royal British Legion on Remembrance Day.
Banners have a place in the bible and in church. When the Israelites left Egypt and began to make their way towards the Promised Land, we are told that each tribe camped under its own banner as Moses had commanded. The Psalmist, in a service used in the temple urged the people of Israel to “set up their banners in the name of God”.
It is a great thought that we can all “set up a banner in the name of God”. The Tree Banner which is being made will be testimony to the witness of the congregation of Carnoustie Panbride. A reminder that by the way we live, we can show that we are on the Lord’s side, that we are the people of God, and that we serve under his banner.