There was a piece in the news at the weekend about the difference between the two-petal ‘English’ poppy and the ‘four-petal’ Scottish one. Looking at photos of the Queen and Duchess of Cambridge at Remembrance events yesterday, they were wearing five-petal poppies. I don’t know if they have a special significance, but it illustrates the challenges they must face constantly regarding symbols and language, trying to avoid causing unwitting offence to particular groups. (How many Scots bridle when they hear her described as ‘the Queen of England’?) The royal family are not alone in having to be careful about words and symbols. There are times when we all have to do it, because the communities we live come from different backgrounds. What are the phrases and symbols that raise our hackles? What are the ones that irritate others in our community?
Lord, help us to be conscious of things that we do or say that offend other groups in our community. Help us as communities to enter into dialogue with each other over language, symbols, behaviour that causes division and seek to find ways of creating more sensitive and inclusive communities