Up about 8 o’clock. A glorious day. Read one of the sermons received from Joe. Read a sermon on †Judas and the Great Commonwealth†123. Were sitting outside at night when an aeroplane was shot above us. Came into the door of the dugout and a piece of shell fell pretty near. Splendid night. Harry Howells lost his pay book and 50 francs. Wrote a long letter to Joe. Had our usual porridge for supper. Bonny night. Read sermon in the †Great Commonwealth†. Turned in about 9.30.
“Judas and the Great Commonwealth”; the transcription is uncertain but, if correct, this sermon would have used a text from a book of the apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 13 vv 13-15, which describes how Judas Maccabeus, defending “the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the commonwealth”, led a small army to victory against a superior foe by entrusting the outcome to God. ↩
Sermons were certainly being preached on this text in early 1917; see this notable example from a service held in St Paul’s cathedral on 20 April 1917 to mark the entry of the USA into the war and attended by the King and Queen and the American ambassador. ↩
The story of the same Judas Maccabeus from another book of the apocrypha, 1 Maccabees, is retold in an oratorio by G. F. Handel, Judas Maccabaeus, written for the Duke of Cumberland after his victory at the Battle of Culloden. ↩