Hespeler, 21 March 2016 © Scott McAndless
Matthew 11:25-30, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Psalm 6
ing Alfred, the ancestor (35 generations ago) of our present monarch Elizabeth II, is famous for many things. He is the only ruler of England ever to be called “the Great.” Indeed, most would say, if it weren’t for Alfred, there would never have been an England at all. But for all the “great” things that Alfred ever did, he is probably most famous for one little mistake.
Alfred became the king of Wessex, one of the seven ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, at the young age of 22. It was not a good time to become a king. These were the days when the Vikings were invading England and things were not going well. When Alfred came to power all of the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had already fallen under Viking rule. Only Wessex, in what is now southwestern England, was left as an independent English kingdom. And the Vikings were coming for Wessex.
Alfred and his lords held them off for a while, but eventually the Vikings just got too strong and the king and his lords had to flee abandoning most of the kingdom into the hands of the invaders. They hid out in some low, marshy land in the region of Somerset where they were relatively safe because the land was almost impassable unless you were very familiar with the marshes.
At one point, during those dark times, the king was taking shelter in a house on the Island of Athelney in the m