The Eve of Battle

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“The Rt Reverend James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, broke ranks with the official church line to call for it to consider offering weddings in all but name for same sex weddings… He questioned whether the current prohibition was a Christian approach, asking whether it was tenable for the Church to ‘deny any blessing of God to that which is just’ any longer.”   (www.telegraph.co.uk/news 16 March 2013)

“Once there are women bishops… Anglo-Catholic opponents will not be able to recognise bishops as true bishops…sacramental assurance will be lost.”  (www.fulcram-anglican.org.uk accessed 22 March 2013)

He looks first at his mother, then at Mary and the others.  Glancing down the road from the Mount of Olives he hears the distant shouting and the sound of a great body of people making ready for the morrow. The anticipatory sense of release of tension in the air is palpable.  The journey from Jericho had tested his companions, in mind and body. But not to their limits; that ordeal was yet to come. They were exhausted and nervous. The preceding days had seen the rumours flying thick and fast from all over the region. Haven’t you heard? There is to be a great battle! He will be triumphant, victorious! With a navy he will control the seas… with an army and war horses he will cut off our enemies… law and order will be restored… things will go back to just the way they were before the occupation…

He watches  Peter closely, listening as his gruff voice rumbles through the late evening air. He is arguing, as usual. Rough and ready, clumsy but to the point.

Jesus smiles.  He sees Peter in the days and weeks and years to come. There he is- standing with his companions, his voice booming confidently above the cacophony of  sound coming from the large crowd gathered from every nation under heaven. Peter knows. A language for all peoples. A language for all men and women. He remembers the words of the prophets as he booms above the crowd’s head. Through the Holy Spirit the sons and daughters of God’s people will prophesy. Everyone who calls on His name shall be saved.

Noticing Mary watching him, Jesus steps out from his reverie. She moves closer towards him. Tomorrow the colt will be ready. He stares into her eyes and recalls teaching in the synagogue the words and teachings of the prophets. He looks across towards Peter, whose voice has risen clearly above those arguing with him. Jesus’ mind once again casts to the future as he hears Peter’s voice addressing that large crowd.

“For what goodness and beauty are His!

Grain shall make the young men flourish,

and new wine the young women.”

God’s love and God’s redemption, for all women and all men of all nations. Mary stretches out her hand towards Jesus. Together, they walk back to where the others are waiting.

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