Lest we forget.
Poppy day, more correctly Remembrance Day seems to cause some controversy these days. Most recently I saw that someone had said they thought it was glorifying war. What poppycock.
Maybe I should say before continuing that I was born after World War 2. Like the great majority of people today, I have no direct experience of war beyond news reports so also like them I will probably never understand it’s full horrors and sacrifices.
My father was a conscripted soldier who served in Burmah in WW2. He was not killed or injured but he never spoke of his wartime experiences to anyone I know of, in or outside our family.
I choose to wear a poppy though many will not, that is their choice. I wish they would wear a poppy. I will not run them down, argue with or insult them for not doing so. Nor do I expect someone who does not wear a poppy to lambast me for wearing one.
We live in a free country, where we can choose to wear or not the poppy, freedom fought for by the men for whom the poppy is worn. The Independent newspaper asked “when does the time come to shift the emphasis away from the past and into the present? My answer is that the poppy is the present.
What kind of country would we be living in if we had lost those terrible wars? We almost certainly would not have the freedom we enjoy now. We are not just remembering the dead. We are remembering what they did for us, why they gave their lives to give us a free country to be proud of. Suppose Hitler had won the war. Imagine the kind of regime we could be living under now.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
From Laurence Binyon’s poem, For The Fallen. These lines form the fourth verse, though apparently they were the first to be written.
A different interpretation of the parable of the talents.
I think it is generally assumed that the servants were honest, but were they?
We are told in the parable that the servants knew that the master harvested “where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed” It might be inferred from that, that the master is not completely honest?
If the master were not honest, might not the servants, to whom he has entrusted sums of money also be dishonest? How can we be sure that the servants, to whom the talents were entrusted, were honest in how they ‘invested’ the master’s money ?
We know that on the master’s return, two of the servants returned to him double what he had entrusted them with. The third returned exactly what he had been given, but can we be sure the servants did not make more than they returned? Suppose they gave back to the master only what they thought they could get away with, keeping any more for themselves.
Even if they gave to the master everything they had earned, while he was away, how do we know it was earned honestly? Perhaps it was used as seed funding for cons or cheating. Maybe profiteering by buying goods and selling at inflated prices. It might have been lent out at exorbitant rates of interest, like modern day payday loans.
I do not suggest any other interpretation is wrong. I offer a possible alternative interpretation, that does not seem to be contradicted by the text.
The Wedding Banquet.
Jesus tells the parable of a king who gives a wedding banquet for his son, but no one comes. Some of the invited even murder the king’s messengers bearing the invitations. For which the king extracts retribution.
Since the invited rich and noble did not come to the wedding, the king instructs his servants to go out and bring in people from the streets. In no time at all the wedding hall was filled with guests of all kinds of people.
When the king comes to the hall in which the wedding guests are assembled, he spies a man not dressed in smart, wedding clothes. The king asks the man how he got in, dressed as he was. Then the king had the man bound and thrown outside.
The parable is the invitation of Jesus to the feast and the inappropriately dressed man represents someone who rejects the invitation, but the parable might easily be interpreted differently.
All the guests at the wedding banquet had been drawn in off the streets. The suggestion being that they were taken directly to the banquet and might not have had time to change into their fine clothes, appropriate to a wedding. There is also the possibility that the poorly dressed man was poor and might have been wearing what were his best cloths, or maybe even his only clothing.
It is possible to conclude that the poorly dressed man was quite unfairly treated. While this is not the usual interpretation of the parable, the text is not sufficiently detailed or clear to dismiss this possible interpretation out of hand.
As usual, I am not seeking to overturn established wisdom, just give some food for thought.
A timeless story, old and new.
No, not a review of H. G. Wells book of the title, though inspired by it. A previous post also inspired by The Time Machine is here.
As the time traveller in the book is unnamed, I have adopted the name George for him, as used in the 1960 film The time Machine.
When our time traveller George arrives in the year 802,701 his first impression is of a kind of future Eden. An impression soon dispelled. But what did the people of the time, the Eloi think of George?
The Eloi were, even by today’s concept, a primitive people. Humanity had apparently regressed even though they were so fare into the future. They had lost or abandoned the accumulated knowledge of history. There seemed to be no technology, no weapons. a peaceful race, at least on the surface.
What would this seemingly primitive people think of our time traveller, George?
Maybe they would consider to be a harmless eccentric, with strange ideas and clothes not quite fitting in with their society. A bit like Jesus in biblical times, not quite fitting in with society.
The Eloi people had, apparently, no knowledge or concept of Jesus but I think it might be possible that George presented a Jesus like figure to them in some ways.
George came amongst them with what to them would be radical, new ideas and thoughts. He upset the established order. Became, in a way, their protector or perhaps ‘Good shepherd’. He was a teacher. The time traveller was able to perform what, to their eyes, might seem like miracles; the Eloi people had not seen matches before to light a fire.
The peaceful Eloi were under the malignant domination of the Morlocks, an underground race feeding on the Eloi treating them like cattle, a source of food and forced labour. Like Jesus tried to show the Israelites how to stand up to the Romans, occupying their land, and their own priests, the Pharisees, George tried to show the Eloi that they did not need to submit to the Morlocks.
Might this portrayal of the time traveller as such a figure by H. G. Wells have been deliberate? Was Wells’ choice of name for the Eloi people chosen from the words Jesus is heard to have said at his crucifixion?