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Saturday, 14 May 2016

I've Put My Foot In It...Deliberately.

One of the sporting highlights of the week wasn't premier football of any kind, as it is the usual case here in the UK. Rather it was a few days of the Invictus Games held in Orlando. Founded by Prince Harry in 2014, it is a form of a mini-Paralympics, except that these games were reserved for athletes who have suffered both physically and mentally while serving in the Forces, particularly in the Middle East conflict during the past decade.

Unsurprisingly, photos of the fourth heir to the Throne were splashed across several pages of on-line newspapers, all of them showing a very cheerful, casually-dressed Royal who would not hold back his emotions towards the disabled competitors he was there to support.

Prince Harry with U.S. Elizabeth Marks

Straight away I could see that his feelings for the athletes were genuine, showing an affection towards them which he did not hold back in displaying. So by scrolling down to the comments forum, way down below from the headline, nearly all who contributed wrote positive statements, say how affectionate the Royal is, and not only won their hearts but even suggested launching a petition for a national referendum for him to be our next King. Such an example of his willingness to spend time with the athletes is illustrated above, having a chat with U.S. swimming champion Elizabeth Marks. However, I believe that the Prince would have looked better clean-shaven rather than sporting a beard, but then again, that is just my own opinion, and not necessarily that of the nation as a whole.  

And it's all about that. Appearance. So I wrote this at the message board underneath:

As a Royal, Prince Harry should have been wearing a tie. After all, he is the Queen's representative.

After this I went out for a while. A few hours later I returned to the forum to see whether I had attracted any response. I did. This was the Daily Mail forum with a green arrow/red arrow system. On my latest check, I have collected nine green arrows - and 171 red arrows, the meaning is, that amount of people had the courage to express their disagreement, representing a much wider readership. I was rather surprised. A generation ago, surely, I would have collected 171 green arrows of approval for making the exactly the same statement.

The next day, just before toddling off to the gym, I decided to turn the screw a little. At a different messaging board but still under the same headline, I typed in this:

As a Royal, Prince Harry should have worn a suit and tie, and be more distant, with an element of aloofness from the athletes. He is the Queen's representative, for heaven's sake.

Then off to the gym I went, and did not arrive home until the evening. Somewhat to my surprise, after much of the day, I have collected only four greens, and what actually surprised me, another 170 reds. With a statement like that, I thought the number of reds would have approached a thousand. But checking many of the other comments, all expressing praise for the Royal, the vast majority were blessed with greens. It looked to me that my two comments had collected the most reds in the entire forum, along with the replies, which totalled nine - three for the first statement and six for the second, all of them negative and rebuking, and confining me as a miserable sod from the sewers, so to speak. With the majority of comments published without collecting any typed response, the average run of replies is probably less than one per comment. With up to nine, my contribution looks to be something of a record breaker.

The whole exercise was of course, an experiment. Prince Harry's casual, down-to-earth attitude, and openness at the Invictus Games provided an excellent opportunity for me to test the waters of public opinion regarding stuffiness, formality, and the stiff upper lip, for which all members of the Firm are world renowned. My conclusion of the research was that by being himself, Prince Harry has won the heart of the nation, not far below that of Her Majesty, but above all the other Royals.

And what seemed to have delighted the nation was Harry's willingness to embrace openly and publicly. There was no embarrassment, no protestation of Britishness, no hint of sexual stimuli. Instead, he is a shining light from a land where showing affection in public just isn't done. I have been rebuked for hugging other men in church, a place where I thought public affection could be expressed freely without censure. How I desire that everyone would hug like that, with less reservation in showing affection, especially in church. Without anyone looking on with a self-righteous judgemental stare.

Prince Harry hugs a male competitor

The Royal's easygoing attitude has won the heart of our nation, according to the Press, but not only here in the UK, but from all competing countries, including the USA. It is quite a phenomenon, which got me to think how Jesus Christ himself expressed affection during his time of ministry. Did he hug anyone during those three years? It is a pity that the Gospels say very little about this. But he had a way of drawing in the crowds, such power the Pharisees lacked. If anything, the "tax collectors and sinners" might have, out of obligation, paid some form of respect to their religious leaders, but I wouldn't put it past them that they disliked the Pharisees, at least secretly. Too many trifling laws and customs. You must do this, you must do that. Quick to judge and punish. Like forgetting to wash hands before eating, or carrying a mat on the Sabbath, even the healing of the sick on that day.

Jesus must have shown some level of affection. The case, for instance, of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). Jesus must have spoken to her in a gentle way, at least to win her heart. She took it for granted that she, along with the rest of her people, were hated by the Jews, and therefore I wouldn't have been surprised that when she saw the Lord sitting there, she was about to leg it as soon as her jug was filled. Instead, he was able to create an atmosphere which kept her mesmerised. The picture above of Prince Harry sitting closely to Elizabeth Marks, engaging in such a friendly conversation, strikes a familiar note. Such an image, in my opinion, is a perfect reflection of Jesus and the female Samaritan.

His ability to draw children is another clue to his tenderness. Parents brought them to be blessed. Did he allow them to sit on his lap? We can't be sure, but according to Mark 10:16, he took them up in his arms. So there must have been some degree of hugging. Try that today with other people's children. The police would be on the scene in next to no time, and charge you with paedophilia! Then what about many others who were healed of their infirmities, had devils cast out, even raised from the dead? Can we assume that everyone who was healed just simply walked away without a single hug of thanks, throughout those three long years?

Hugging was not the only way the Lord expressed his affection. He wept publicly on at least two occasions (Luke 19:41, John 11:35). The first occasion was about the fate of the city of Jerusalem, knowing that in less than forty years it would be razed to the ground by the Roman armies. His weeping has shown his love for the city and its people, to which he says that he was willing to gather in his arms in the same way a hen would to its chicks. Then in the case of Lazarus, who died recently. He wept over his loss. Mary wept too, and although the narrator does not say so, I wouldn't be at all surprised if she wept on his shoulders. Jesus and Mary in a tight hug, both grieving over the loss of her brother. Even the Pharisees were moved, which must have said something. Here in the UK, for a man to weep, especially in public, he would be considered weak, unmanly. Such is our traditional culture. However, supposing Prince Harry witnessed a tragedy at the Invictus Games. Would he weep? My guess is that he would, and with the favour of a majority here in England. Such seems to be the cultural shift.

Another occasion appears in John 13:23, and only in the King James version. It is where the narrator describes himself as "Leaning on Jesus' bosom." All the other versions puts it as merely "He reclined". So I checked the verse in the Greek/English Interlinear. There is a Greek word in that verse for "Reclining". It is the word, Anakeimenos. The verse also contains the Greek word Kolpoi, which is "Bosom". So we have John leaning on Jesus's breast, most likely sensing that something bad is going to happen, and therefore feeling upset. His position had no effect on the other disciples, with Peter tapping him on the shoulder for a clue to who the traitor will be.

Then, immediately after his resurrection, Mary meets Jesus outside the tomb, thinking that he is the gardener (John 20:11-17). When his true identity was revealed to her, she cried out, "Rabbi!" and ran to throw her arms around him. But Jesus told her that he can't be touched for the time being, for he has not yet ascended to his Father. This gives me some clues here. It does look as if Mary did hug Jesus in the past, before his crucifixion, and she was about to do it again. When was the last time? Was it at Lazarus death and burial? Indeed, was she the same woman? Whatever the case might have been, it does indicate that she was in his arms some time before.

Going by the Gospels, it does look as if the Lord was not too reserved to show affection in public. The same goes for Prince Harry. Both have won the affection of the ordinary people. But in the case of Jesus, it was the religious leaders who successfully persuaded the crowds to turn against him. Before then, they were even ready to make him King (John 6:15) which is the same desire expressed by some commentators for Prince Harry. The popularity of both Jesus and Harry were not generated by religion, nor giving of the law, nor even keeping to the culture of the land, but showing love. And showing it publicly.

It is a crying shame that throughout the centuries after his Resurrection and Ascension, the Church has insisted on law-keeping - do, do, do, do - with any thought of God's love slowly being cocooned out of sight from the masses who, while still alive, instead suffered the terrors of Purgatory and eternal Hell. And so the Dark Ages came and went, along with the Inquisition, followed by the Reformation, then finally the Eternal Security debate. Little wonder that the vast bulk of the population, then as now, are not drawn to the Lord at all, instead, a deep awareness of guilt has always been felt, with efforts made to alleviate it, by the development of Humanism, Uniformitarian Geology, Darwinism, and other godless philosophies.

Prince Harry has shown a lot of affection to the competitors of the Invictus Games, and drew the affection of the nation - to the extent the such a bastion of British culture - the suit and tie - is quickly discarded in favour of his personality and charismatic character. Jesus Christ has shown love to the world, the common people loved him, but the religious leaders hated him. And to this day, many religious leaders in the churches continue to hide the love of Christ from those desperate for him, and therefore turn to to the likes of Prince Harry instead.


  1. Dear Frank,
    Praise God that He taught us how to love one another, as well as how to live and how to be saved. His infinite love poured forth not only at the cross and in His speech and teaching, but in His genuine acts of affection and compassion. He was not afraid to touch the leper or to weep publicly, for perfect love casts out all fear, and His always pure intentions could never be mistaken. Thanks as always for the excellent post. God bless,

  2. Harry really is a decent bloke. He knows how to mix with all types of people, and that is probably because of his stint in the army. He looks like he could take a ribbing from his mates, and give it back, too! Yeah, he seems decent. Great post Franky boy!!

  3. Throughout history, humanity has tried to put leaders on a pedestal, above the rest of the world, while the greatest leaders of history have been men who avoided the pedestal, getting to know their people and their concerns. The pride that makes one separate him from the people prevents his getting close to them. Though he was the creator and Lord of the Universe, Christ came down and lived with his people, experiencing the same things they do. Leaders who do not simply demonstrate a lack of real concern for their people.

  4. I am particularly fascinated with the no hugging and no much hand shaking culture here. And to add to your list of examples, Jesus tells a story of the prodigal son who returns home and his father runs to him and throws his hands around him (hugs him) to welcome his lost son back and let me say at this point that this particular story directly reflects "the Father-sons relationship". So I believe it wont be far fetched to say Jesus would hug any one any where, at any time (with no gay motives)