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May 07, 2006

Sunday ramblings ......

Coming to the end of a glorious four weeks holiday, actually last years leave allocation, I face returning to work tomorrow with the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I know that my desk will be piled high with work that has simply been left for me to address when I return. The end of the holiday has also meant that the flat feels empty as Mausi has returned to her lovely home in the Taunus Mountains and I no longer have the fun of her company to liven up my day. That said, we have had a great four weeks exploring Scotland, South and West England and even a bit of Wales. It has been tremendous to have time out of all my other jobs and duties like this, and I am grateful to the Lord for giving me the joy of friends who mean so much to me.

Of course, while all this has been in progress there has been a major upheaval in the political scene, one I have studiously ignored since it only makes me angry and I have had no desire to get annoyed - Monday will be time enough for that! But it has made me consider the wisdom of several books I have been reading as I go through the process of selection for possible ordination.

One of the books, written by the present Bishop of Durham, reminded me of the fact that Jesus came into a world riven by political agendas and died because of them. His sacrifice at the hands of the Sanhedrin was made inevitable by His confronting their agenda which had little to do with their disapproval of His claims to Messiahship and everything to do with the agenda of power - and their remaining in control of it! Other books reminded me that the quest for political power is certainly not a modern invention, the Bible tells, in the prophets, the story of conflict between the way of God and the way of political power - materialism, power mongering, "deals with the Devil" are all symptoms of people who have turned away from the path God has set and His laws, to impose their own, all designed to ensure that they obtain the wealth and hold the power.

But, as Mr Blair is discovering, power corrupts very swiftly, and human sentiment is fickle. He swept to power in 1997 behind the image of a shining knight on a white charger who was going to make Britain a fairer and politically correct place to live, and now he is so covered in ordure that the stench of the corruption of his administration makes the Sanhedrin look good. Human nature is so easily led astray, so easily corrupted by holding power for too long, just as was the case among the various courts in Biblical times among the Israeli and Judaic nobility in antiquity. It was their corruption which led to the division of the Kingdom built by David and Solomon and ultimately to its disappearance as they courted power for themselves. It was this that the prophest railed against so loudly.

But equally striking in my reading was the fact that the ordinary people were, as ever, caught between their "leaders" and the harsh realities of life. I was again reminded that the exile invloved not, as one would think, the removal of the entire population of Israel and Judah, but of its nobility. The Babylonians weren't stupid, you needed to leave the peasants in place to continue working the land and plying the ir crafts in order to keep the tax coffers filled. One does wonder what the populace thought of the change - probably not a lot in the end since one bunch of "masters" was probably much the same as another in the end. As the Margrave of Brandenburg is famously on record as saying; "Es ist ein untertanen untersacht ..." (It is an underlying principle that.. ) and he went on to say that the general populace had nothing to say on any great matter that counted for anything, a principle held by those in power since the invention of politics and still practiced today even by those supossedly elected to office anywhere!

Jesus came, not to replace that corrupt power mongering earthly system with a new one for us to manipulate and corrupt, but with an incorruptible kingdom, one based entirely on a renewal of life and a purification of our nature. It is that which we celebrate in this season of Easter and in our daily worship.

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Posted by The Gray Monk at May 7, 2006 06:20 AM

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