Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Tuesday: questions, authority and hypocrisy

When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you
(Jn 13:21-33).

As Jesus continued to teach in the Temple, he was questioned by the chief priests and scribes about his authority to teach. He didn’t show his theology degree, his qualified teacher status or his CRB check: instead, he responded to their questions with his own. Their reaction was doubtless one of irritation and embarrassment: doubtless some stormed off, as hypocrites tend to when confronted with their own absurdities: the parable of the wicked tenants (Mt 21:33-45; Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19) wouldn’t have helped. The Pharisees then tried entrapment, asking whether it was lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor. Aware of their motives, Jesus’ response was unequivocal that taxes must be paid.

The Lord’s authority came from God, but he never used it to subvert the princely authorities of this world. And neither did he run to The Daily Mail with every petty grievance. Our citizenship is in heaven; we are merely passing through the temporal state. And while we journey, we must obey the political authorities and the precepts of our employers. Of course, we may agitate for change, but never without humility or love, which penetrates the souls of men because it is divine.

Religious shows of ostentation and hypocritical piety are antithetical to what the kingdom of heaven is about: by focusing on the letter of the law, we easily forget that the substance is justice, mercy and love; by obsessing about outward adornments, we risk ignoring the spirit, the heart, the purpose of our faith. Indeed, the outward manifestation is hollow when it is more pharisaically obsessed with propriety than with loving one’s neighbour.

Yesterday, one contributor said that His Grace was ‘more Pharisee than Apostle’.

His Grace agrees.

On this Holy Tuesday and all this week and every day thereafter he reflects and will reflect upon his sin, his shortcomings, his hypocrisies and inadequacies. Everything he does is dirty rags before the Lord. His whited sepulchre may be full of dead men’s bones (or, indeed, ash), and he may be plagued by all manner of uncleanness, but he takes the Lord’s warnings about authority and hypocrisy very seriously indeed: he will not be outwardly what he is not inwardly.

21 Comments:

Blogger AncientBriton said...

Nice one Your Grace but I would have preferred something from the Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir rather than Bob Marley!

19 April 2011 at 10:17  
Anonymous Oswin said...

An interesting and reflectve post Your Grace.

It is perhaps harder for a vibrant, gifted and 'cerebral' man to be humble, yet oftentimes more necessary than for most.

Learn the lessons for today and tomorrow, but don't beat yourself-up too much, because as a good man, you'll have to revisit those lessons time and time again.

19 April 2011 at 10:43  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

In December 2005 police questioned the family-values campaigner, Lynette Burrows, after she expressed the view on a radio programme that homosexual men may not be suitable for raising children. Police telephoned saying they were investigating a reported 'homophobic' incident.

The Bishop of Chester was investigated by the Cheshire constabulary in November 2003 after he told his local newspaper of research showing that some homosexuals re-orientated to heterosexuality. The police passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided not to prosecute.

In 2006 a Member of the Scottish Parliament asked Strathclyde Police to investigate remarks made by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow. The Archbishop had defended the institution of marriage in a church service.

In July 2003 A Swedish Pastor was sentenced to one month in jail after giving a sermon in which he said homosexuality was a "deep cancerous tumour" in society. However the Supreme Court of Sweden acquitted him on appeal.

In October 2001 A street preacher from Bournemouth was convicted by magistrates of a public order offence because he held a sign saying homosexuality was immoral.

In 2005 a Christian couple were interrogated by police because they complained about their local council's 'gay rights' policy. The police said they were responding to a reported 'homophobic incident'. The police later admitted that no crime had been committed and the police and council issued a public apology.

22 July 1998 following a vote by the House of Lords which successfully blocked a reduction in the age of homosexual consent, gay rights groups became violent towards some of the Peers. After attempting to storm into Parliament, members of the gay rights group Outrage! picketed the Lords, shouting abuse and threatening violence. One Christian Peer, the late Lady Young, needed Police protection to get to her car.

In December 2002 Several experienced and well respected adoption and childcare specialists were forced out of their jobs for deciding not to place children with homosexual couples. Norah Ellis and Dawn Jackson were threatened with dismissal from Sefton Council; Dr Joy Holloway, a paediatrician, had to change her job.

In 2004 the Christian Union of the University of Cambridge was reported to the police following its distribution of St John's gospel to students and hosting an evangelistic meeting where the Dean of Sydney Cathedral put forward "a traditional biblical view on homosexuality".

In 1999 an Anglican parish church in Newcastle upon Tyne was vandalised and extensively daubed with obscene graffiti because its vicar upheld traditional Christian beliefs on homosexuality. The attack followed a local meeting organised by Britain's leading 'gay rights' lobby group, Stonewall, at which a member of the audience advocated action against Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle.
In 2002, a church in South Wales was sued for refusing to recognise a transsexual as a woman. Thankfully his case was thrown out of the court.

In 2006 the Western Isles Council in Scotland received hate mail and death threats because its registrars refused, on moral grounds, to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

(Notes from the Christian Institute)

19 April 2011 at 10:46  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ancient Briton said

"Nice one Your Grace but I would have preferred something from the Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir rather than Bob Marley!" Cultural Diversity, it will be the death of us,lol.

Even though Ernst is not CofE he has a very soft spot for it, as it tries to bee tender towards a godless, callous people but has it's kindness spat back in it's face.

However Ernst believes it has a serious falling in which it is shown by His Grace's perceived angst at christians now standing up against the rise of secularism.

It has fallen asleep whilst in charge of the watchtower, like 5 of those those 10 virgins carrying the empty lantern but
a. Five foolish virgins take no oil
b. Five wise virgins take extra oil

My Dear ++, it appears that the CofE refuses to go back and get extra, while it awaits the arrival of it's King/Bridegroom. Stop trimming those lamps, go back and get extra oil, whilst there is yet time.

The CofE should be what it was originally meant to be and the task set it, or what is its purpose or function in the Body?

Ernst

19 April 2011 at 10:46  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"Holy Tuesday..."

As time goes by (decades) it has ceased to be any surprise that the Temple authorities conspired with many of the upper crust and bien-pensants of the day to trap Jesus of Nazareth. The things he said!! So ruinous to every unworthy interest, so challenging to every single one, in thought word and deed, however humble or godfearing.

When the time comes Pilate will find no fault in him, if the Gospels as we have them are anything to go by (and there are other corroborating sources, though maybe not enough for those who have decided not to accept normal historical criteria).

19 April 2011 at 10:56  
Anonymous gladiolys said...

I'd be interested in your opinion of this:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/blocking_the_gates_to_the_temples_of_finance_20110418/

Best wishes...

19 April 2011 at 11:29  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace's taste in music is indeed catholic.

19 April 2011 at 11:42  
Anonymous Preacher said...

May one be bold enough to request that Your Grace stays off the ganja & sticks with the Eschesaux 66 during his time of reflection & contemplation. The image of a dreadlocked Cranmer is a bridge way too far!.

19 April 2011 at 12:07  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,

The last paragraph is most apposite to me.

2 Tim 2 v 13

19 April 2011 at 13:52  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Often in the Gospels the truth is in the details. The Pharisees are so often mentioned even today, but the Sadducees?

How much is there to be read between the lines and across the chapters?

Mention of the Sadduccees recalls that the intricacies and intrigues behind the Gospel narratives are obscure by any reckoning. If little is known of what became of the Sadduccees after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D, but it is said that one of them, Simon, had been made high priest about 25 B.C. by Herod the Great (of temple building fame) in order that his marriage with Mariamne (of that family) might not be regarded as a mésalliance.

[Historical note for ease of reference: Herod's son Herod Archelaus was made ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea 4 BCE to 6 CE (the tetrarchy of Judea). Herod's other son Herod Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee from 4 BCE – 39 CE. After Archelaus was judged incompetent by Augustus, Samaria, Judea and Idumea were combined as the province of Iudaea under a prefect. Pilate was prefect, from 26 until 36, when he and Caiaphas were deposed by the Legate in Syria Lucius Vitellius, after complaints from the people in Samaria.]

19 April 2011 at 15:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Have you noticed Your Grace in the halcyon days of British Imperial Power the elites thought we had an empire following upon Greece and Rome and that Classical Architecture and Education were essential.

Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever.
The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849).

John Ruskin thought we should have buildings that endure, but the Neo-Elizabeth Age is one of disposable, cheap, trashy buildings - look at any 1960s Primary School or public building with cheap windows, concrete facade and the high burden of maintenance costs.

There is no sense of the Eternal but only of the Ephemeral and in this the confidence that once made England great has been sapped and replaced by Doubt and Fear.

The corrosive effect of transient life has made it impossible to root anything or invest for a distant future

19 April 2011 at 16:14  
Anonymous richard said...

Your Grace says
"And while we journey, we must obey the political authorities and the precepts of our employers."

My last boss was a psychopathic bully who deserved a boot in the nuts. The fact that I did obey him for two years and received indignity heaped upon hellish indignity in return doesn't make me Godly, it makes me a fool. Turning the other cheek is a great dictum, but it only works if your opponent is blessed with a conscience.

As for politicians, have you seen what they're doing with our taxes? We are all complicit in genocide as per the Nueremberg Principles.

"The Lord’s authority came from God, but he never used it to subvert the princely authorities of this world"

Well, He did say he was King of the Jews and wanted to replace Roman military rule with a heavenly reign on earth, so in fact He did want to subvert worldly authority. Which is why He ended up dead - ahem, condemned to death.

19 April 2011 at 16:36  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Turning the other cheek is a great dictum,

I don't know what you mean, perhaps you should step outside the Englishness of the language and understand the 1st Century Jew who made the statement and what exactly it meant in a Jewish context.

Simply scooping up English words and assuming the Jew Jesus was as sloppy and half-witted as the English reader is to completely be adrift of the words of Jesus Christ who was a Jew 2000 years ago......there was a technical meaning in his phrase you have not understood

19 April 2011 at 17:48  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I might have some sympathy with your graces post , there are times when trying to defeat political errors , one finds oneself in lands hostile and unforgiving. It is very difficult not to become like the pharisee in these times .Jesus himself was not immune to the offence of what the temple money exchanges had become and pharisees that administerd it .
This parodox of the poor and the power of high office is difficult , but I have belief god is there , for I doubt he would want power to be the realm/club of the double minded only.

I can recall one of my friends who found the CofE traditional prayers for the governmet , all a little old fashioned and disengenous given they can sometimes play the public so poorley with spurious magic . I then thought , that is precisely why we pray for them, so that they do not become a franchise that forgets jesus teachings and meanings when in office .

19 April 2011 at 17:52  
Anonymous len said...

There is a point in our lives for all who seek the Truth about Christ when things hang in the balance.
When confronted with our own sin, hypocrisy and shortcomings we can either run away from Jesus or run towards Him.When measured against Christ we all fall short,well short.
It is only when we come to this point(of despair) that we can really appreciate our Saviour.
I suppose we all have a bit of the Pharisee in us, a bit of the hypocrite and we all (Christians)need the continual guidance of the Holy Spirit to keep our human nature in check!
The apostle Paul struggled to live a 'good' life under his own efforts(religion)but it was only when he relied entirely upon the Holy Spirit that he was able to keep his natural' human nature' in check and move from being in the 'natural' to being in the Spirit.

19 April 2011 at 19:19  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Holy Tuesday: richard 16:36 "Turning the other cheek..."/ Voyager 17:48 "....Jewish context."

Jews everywhere would know the books of the Septuagint, including Lamentations 3.30 and 1 Kings 22:24
Of the latter Barnes' Notes on the Bible mentions: "....a notable type of our Lord before Caiaphas suffering the same indignity." [Smote Micaiah on the cheek: The prophet, thus standing before the great ones of the earth, bound and helpless, bearing testimony to the truth, and for his testimony smitten on the face by an underling, whose blow he receives without either shame or anger...]

19 April 2011 at 23:05  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

Why is this post headed by a picture of bradford council?

20 April 2011 at 07:47  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Unsure how to take the image and audio on first sight and hearing, but this morning:

The Spirit of Bob Marley could be for Obamastan what the Spirit of Archbishop Cranmer is doing here(at home and overseas).

20 April 2011 at 10:19  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Romans 13

Submission to Governing Authorities

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.

4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.

7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

So that just about wraps it up then?

Government is a God ordained institution.

Rebellion against government is rebellion against God.

The coalition government induces no fear in Judaeo-Christians because we try to do what is right and follow our consciences.

Right?

Wrong.

English Civil war against the dictator Charles I: right or wrong? Right.

John Bunyan (1628-88) preaching without being licensed by the Church of England: right or wrong? Right.

American War of Independence: right or wrong? Right.

British resistance to the morally bankrupt EU: right or wrong? Right.

When Caesar’s demands collide with God’s; the question is: whose image do we bear?

20 April 2011 at 11:03  
Anonymous MrJ said...

D.Singh_Each age has its times of crisis. And many have found through the ages, from the time of Abraham, that perplexity is not removed by the sort of answers which pleases those around them to give. Some find that by returning again and again to what speaks to them from the Bible, in Synagogue or Church or Chapel or private study, present days become endurable and ways forward become possible. Easter Week, the last days of Lent before Easter Day, is a time for thoughts of the kind which are appearing on Cranmer's blog day by day. It is a time to hear what answers were given to those who were out to trap the donkey-colt rider, intending to bring about his downfall.

A Village Explainer could at this point interject:

First: If any commenters feel a need to be better informed about the way of life to which members of the Anglican Communion are exhorted by the Book of Common Prayer (and a copy is not to hand), then let it be mentioned that the whole text can be found online at http://www.eskimo.com/~lhowell/bcp1662/ including the General Confession (Morning and Evening Prayer) and the Prayer of Humble Access (Holy Communion).

Second: ... that "Rulers may have grace, wisdom, and understanding to execute justice, and to maintain truth; and that the people may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty."

Use of Prayer Book collects in the Episcopal Church in the USA was mentioned on Palm Sunday 17 April (Anonymous 12:19) in a comment under "Hosanna to the Son of David". That Church has put the Prayer Book "According to the use of The Episcopal Church" online, including its Ratification dated 16October 1789. In the Preface its name as the Protestant Episcopal Church [in USA] appears and it states: "The attention of this Church was in the first place drawn to those alterations in the Liturgy which became necessary in the prayers for our Civil Rulers, in consequence of the Revolution. And the principal care herein was to make them conformable to what ought to be the proper end of all such prayers, namely," ...[as above quoted]

20 April 2011 at 14:02  
Blogger D. Singh said...

MrJ

‘D.Singh_Each age has its times of crisis. And many have found through the ages, from the time of Abraham, that perplexity is not removed by the sort of answers which pleases those around them to give’.

There is no intention to remove perplexity. For if perplexity is extinguished how then can I become a man?

‘Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own’.

Henry V Act 4, Sc 1

20 April 2011 at 14:52  

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