Today, on this feast of England’s patron saint, we pray specially for our country. Images of him all show him slaying the dragon, following the legend. It is a timely reminder that the battles and wars of our age are spiritual as well as physical. As St Paul expressed it in Ephesians, ‘Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints …’

As we commend our country into God’s loving care, let us pray that we will be guarded and protected from evil. May St George keep us from harm, and may God bless you this day.