Thought for the week

The Oban Times - - Births, Marriages & Deaths - Ken­neth Ross, Par­ish min­is­ter, Nether­lorn.

WHAT are we to make of the tu­mul­tuous po­lit­i­cal changes sweep­ing our world at this time? With the rise to power of such pop­ulist lead­ers as Putin in Rus­sia, Er­do­gan in Turkey, Trump in the USA, Modi in In­dia and Duterte in the Philip­pines, fa­mil­iar val­ues are be­ing called into ques­tion.

Con­cern for the most vul­ner­a­ble in so­ci­ety, an in­ter­na­tion­al­ist ap­proach to global justice and peace-mak­ing, hos­pi­tal­ity to­wards strangers, scrupu­lous com­mit­ment to be­ing truth­ful, care for the en­vi­ron­ment – all of th­ese long- cher­ished val­ues now ap­pear to be in jeop­ardy.

Deep ques­tions arise about the na­ture of power and the ex­er­cise of power.

Th­ese are not new ques­tions. In fact, they are ques­tions that were in the air on the first Palm Sun­day, when Je­sus rode a don­key into Jerusalem amid the cheer­ing crowds. It was a po­tent sym­bol. For Zechariah had long be­fore de­clared: ‘Be­hold your king is com­ing to you; right­eous and hav­ing sal­va­tion is he, hum­ble and mounted on a don­key, on a colt, the foal of a don­key.’

Je­sus’s cal­cu­lated move to en­ter Jerusalem on a don­key showed that he iden­ti­fied him­self with this Mes­sianic ex­pec­ta­tion.

Even as he did so, how­ever, he also chal­lenged it. He made it clear that he would not be the mar­tial hero of na­tion­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tion. He came, rather, as the Prince of Peace. Not for him the horse, which was the mount of war. He chose the don­key to carry him into Jerusalem. He brought a dif­fer­ent kind of power – the power of hu­mil­ity, the power of ser­vice, the power of suf­fer­ing for oth­ers, the power of justice and peace.

Th­ese are the re­al­i­ties of Easter. Might they be the an­swer to the cri­sis of our times?

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