ANDREW MARR’S THE MAKING OF MODERN BRITAIN has held our wrapt attention. Tonight’s closing words: “… and they gave it to us” are ringing in my ears, along with the news of President Obama’s decision to send another 30,000 US troops into Afghanistan. The cost of forging peace, in history, this evening, and on into the foreseeable future is incalculable. And at the end of the day I’m reflecting on having celebrated another Advent Eucharist at its beginning: “The Lord is coming and will not delay; he will bring every hidden thing to light and reveal himself to every nation” said the Entrance Antiphon. “Grant that we may be ready” prayed the Collect. “On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food … he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples” foretold Isaiah. “In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever” – from the Psalm. And “they all ate as much as they wanted” from Matthew’s Good News.
Will the day dawn when the people’s of the world are able to stop dividing the Lord of Hosts into portions of religious tradition and national identity? Will the day dawn when we’re able to stop building defensive walls and temples – because we’ve finally grasped that the “Lord of Hosts” is the life giving Spirit that animates all things, and all times, and all places, and all people; because we’ve grasped that the “Lord of Hosts” is the Love at the heart of all things; because we’ve grasped that the only temple, the only “nation” that matters eternally – for any of us – is the love-at-the-heart of us? Would there be any room for hate in a world that no longer needed to build personal or national or religious defences to protect misunderstood and ill-conceived national and religious practice?
Would there be any room for hate in a world that had come to understand that the “Feast” intended by the Divine at the heart of all things is offered by the Lord of HOSTS? Offered by the Lord of everyone. Will the day dawn when a few more of us are willing to offer up (in wondrous simplicity) a little of the picnic we’ve brought along to satisy the hunger of the hosts? According to the tellers of good news in the Christian tradition a few loaves of bread and some fish were offered for a much greater than ever dreamed of good, and “they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full”.
Past sacrifice “gave the world to us”. We share responsibility for it in 2009. Dare we open the security gates around our tribal traditions a little wider?