Sunday, 1 May 2011

Speaking Truth to Power

"And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren , and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel". Deuteronomy 17:18-20

This extended weekend has been one of much happiness. The Royal wedding on Friday was a lovely celebration of love and marriage and a beautifully organised and executed spectacle that allowed people to celebrate the love between Prince William and Catherine Middleton, together with our common history and allowed us to relish a little bit of our national splendour.

One of the moments that made the greatest impact on me, was during the address given by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres. Certain aspects of course did not mesh with my own Unitarian theological position, however the guidance he gave the royal couple on how to conduct their married life in the spirit of God was beautiful and moving. Perhaps something not so much appreciated is the quite radical sight of monarchy being reminded that they themselves are answerable to something greater, more regal, more illustrious than themselves. That they as much as the lowliest person, are subject to the same law of the Divine. How strongly this image was contrasted by the events taking place that selfsame day in Syria; a government that believes itself to be the absolute pinnacle, that answers to no-one and crushes with unjustified force those who point out to them, "our right to freedom, and your obligation to respect that, is greater than your desire to rule". Of course many have fallen by the sword of rulers unwilling to hear that they too are subject to the Eternal's constitution.

"For John said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. And Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him."
Mark 6:18-19

God reveals in His scriptures that a ruler is to serve his subjects, and to constantly be aware that morality, ethics and law are not his to make or his to do away with, but they are to be before him always, informing everything he does.

"The kings of the Gentiles have lordship over them; and they that have authority over them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so, but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve."
Luke 22:25-26

We ourselves may not be kings, but we are challenged in the same way.

God's reality is immense and the magnitude of His glory is incomprehensible, He truly is above all, and we are all subject to His will, including the mightiest kings. No wonder this testament of faith has been seen as so subversive and threatening down the ages to those in power. But God is also to be found within us and never more as when we share our love, kindness and concern with others. Which is why in our journeys through life and faith, the support of a sympathetic and loving community is so invaluable.

Which is why the growth of our Unitarian movement is so necessary. For those who are not as lucky as those of us who have congregations to belong to, are missing the fuel that can help propel them to ever greater closeness to our Heavenly Father who is most often found between those arms stretched out in fellowship.

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