Here we are again, the approach to the invisible dividing line in time which brings this year to a conclusion and introduces another new year, for the 65th occasion so far in my lifetime. There is no earthquakes, no thunder in the sky or voices or supernatural displays from heaven. Instead we make our own noise by having the television switched on to hear the chimes of Big Ben strike midnight followed by the crowds singing Auld Lang Syne and the impressive firework display lighting up the Thames-side London Eye, a giant bicycle wheel broadcast across the whole nation and appearing in every daily newspaper the next day. And of course, a far less impressive show of fireworks let off in our neighbourhood.
And this all this still to come after a Christmas season watching Franco Zeffirelli's film Jesus of Nazareth on You-Tube. At least the Internet provides a six-hour feature film viewing, which is better than the four-hour version I have on our DVD. With Robert Powell starring as Jesus, it is my opinion that Zeffirelli's production is the closest to the reality of the real Jesus of Nazareth than any other movie ever made about the Son of God. By watching, the film as brought out my love and admiration for this Jewish Messiah who is the author and finisher of our salvation.
And within my spirit, I have a longing to be close to the real Jesus of Nazareth. How I long for him to look me in the eyes with the words, I love you, without any if's or but's, but to love me as I am, warts and all, and believe me, there are many warts indeed. How I long for him to take me in his arms and to hug me, yes, hug me, hug me tightly! Is this a homosexual wish? By no means. Rather this is an unconditional love the Creator, Father, and Brother has for one he had created specifically, according to Psalm 139. How I long to know that God loves me through his Son and indwelling Holy Spirit -even to have the whole Trinity party within me, according to John 14:23. I know, and I'm fully aware that a religious person would jump up, point his finger at me and say something like, Yea but see, there is an "if" - if he loves me he will keep my commandments...
And here is where I find it so difficult to realise Christ's unconditional love for me, for it doesn't take long for someone to say to me, yea, but...and because of religion, even now, after more than forty years as a believer, the unconditional love of Christ is something I find very difficult to realise. And far more difficult to realise for anyone, like myself, to have grown up in the Roman Catholic faith. But without a doubt, to know that I'm unconditionally loved, without taking any of my sins into account, will eventually draw out my desire to keep his commandments out of choice rather than out of compulsion. And knowing that sin is an ongoing brat which keeps on getting in the way spoils this beautiful, longed-for relationship - I guess I cannot enjoy to the full level until I meet him face to face. And therefore, to see the Kingdom of God thrive in my heart is my utmost desire, because really, his commandments are pretty straightforward - to love one another as Christ loves us.
But sin always gets in the way. It always does. And because of sin, I may be tempted to be drawn towards religion, like Adam and Eve were drawn into religion by sewing fig leaves together after the Fall. God totally ignored their own attempts for reconciliation and instead killed an innocent animal in order to clothe them properly. And this issue about clothes. As I have already said a couple of weeks previously, the need for clothing has far more to do with being reconciled to God through an innocent sacrifice than keeping out the cold, even if extra layers of clothing serves well in cold weather.
And as I write this, only yesterday I was sitting alone at a comfy table at a McDonald's in Windsor, with its castle directly across the road from the window right next to where I was sitting. It was a weekday during school holidays, and as I spent about two hours watching the crowds, both inside the restaurant and out in the streets, I did not see one single tie worn, despite the wet, wintry weather. And this was Windsor, official home to the Queen along with her State residence of Buckingham Palace. And maybe rather ironic it may seem, it is here where the terms Half Windsor, Full Windsor, and Double Windsor, all apply on which type of knot on the tie is created.
And I will be honest here. I have always disliked the tie. How a strip of fabric tied around the neck in resemblance of a hangman's noose became so popular in British culture, beats me. Most likely my dislike for such an item having something to do with a telling off I received from a school teacher for not wearing one in class. Sure, I'm fully aware that the tie is merely a way to be smartly dressed. Even my niece admitted that she liked the school tie. Her explanation was that wearing uniform eliminates the rivalry that can arise through individual fashion and choice. Here I fully agree. The uniform is a great leveller. But I cannot help feel that a female wearing a tie looks somewhat unnatural, whilst a man - well, he deserves respect, doesn't he? After all, the tie is the symbol of British respectability, a high level of education and profession, and class.
Respectability? Class? Sorry, but for me, all this looks too artificial. And for years, Hollywood knew this perfectly well. In many of their movies, the villain was often portrayed as the Englishman in a suit, with his British self-reserve the hallmark for his devious and cunning plans, so I once read in a newspaper. But then again, I don't have to merely read about it. Lately in the BBC soap East Enders - and yes, we do watch this soap based on the working class way of life within the East End area of London. Indeed, how low brow, carnal, and unspiritual can we get? No one else in our church would even dare venture to watch that, would they? Yet in it, one of the nastiest villains to appear in the series is James Willmott-Brown, property developer and one time rapist, played by actor William Boyde. Always appearing well dressed in suit and tie, this villain's intention is to destroy the flourishing community at Albert Square, demolish the whole site - local pub included - to build a swank residential estate specifically for young, up-and-coming professionals.
Of course, the developer will fail. All villains do, don't they? But I wonder, throughout the past year of smartly-dressed professionals, and even Oxbridge students in their suits and ties who got up to no good and were caught. There was even a group of professional footballers, all dressed in suit and tie, standing at a balcony with one of them literally throwing a glass of urine over the parapet! How this contrasts to the better-educated TV presenters, reporters, even laboratory scientists, along with doctors and surgeons in the NHS, who all go about their business without having to wear a tie. TV travel presenters such as Simon Reeve, Michael Mosley, Michael Scott, and even Professor Brian Cox all arouse my envy as each of them journey around the globe on our expense - without having to wear a tie.
Here are some photos of real-life heroes and villains which had recently appeared in the Media:
|Exposing himself, this footballer throws urine over the balcony|
|Professor Brian Cox at the Grand Canyon|
|Child killer Scully-Hicks|
|BBC presenter and travel journalist Michael Mosley|
|Cambridge student Ronald Coyne -Abused a tramp in the street.|
|BBC travel presenter Simon Reeve.|
One interesting point was how right-wing newspaper journalists such as atheist Simon Heffer - who considers himself to be "a model of an ideal Englishman" - along with Amanda Platell, and Dr. Max Pemberton, all insist on tie-wearing. Heffer even insist that no one can be called a gentleman unless he wears a tie whilst outdoors, including on a Saturday afternoon shopping spree. Meanwhile, gay psychologist Dr. Pemberton would like to launch a campaign for all male NHS hospital staff to wear ties, even surgeons at the operating theatre. And why am I surprised that these journalists, among many more, are all devoted Brexit supporters with a high sense of patriotism? And throughout a year of Brexit turbulence among Government ministers, including the loss of a majority for our current Prime Minister at this year's General Election - at last, at last, a token of victory has been won. A wonderful triumph for all patriots who voted Leave.
We are going to have our passports changed from burgundy to blue. Fantastic! I'm not exaggerating when I write that the Daily Mail and the Sun national newspapers proclaimed this as a victory for Brexit, Britain's sovereignty and future greatness. Just think of it. Powerful nations such as China, Russia, and the United States will slip to their knees in reverential respect and fear. Europe will tremble with fear. Not long after the colour change, our powerful Navy, Army and Air Force will be dispatched to the whole globe to restore its former Empire. Britain will be great once again, conquering the world as one nation after another collapse at the sight of the passport's new colour. A reason for optimism! Oh yes, lest I forget, there will also be a massive revival of the tie, with crowds demanding the re-opening of Tie Rack and other tailoring stores.
Okay, so I have exaggerated on the Empire bit. And on the tie bit too. But not on the rest. These newspapers really were on a victory line here. Because it was our current Prime Minister, Theresa May, who basically said, The return of the blue British Passport represents a future independence from Europe, our future sovereignty and national greatness. The three words sovereignty and national greatness were actually spoken by her, with my opinion that such hope was an early Christmas present after a year of uncertainty and turmoil. Perhaps this change of the passport's cover from burgundy to blue have to come quick. Because right at the heels of this declaration, news from Egypt arrives into the British Media that its Government has eschewed the Foreign Office's plea to have a British prisoner released early on compassionate grounds. She was charged for bringing a large quantity of Tramadol into Egypt, which is one of their banned drugs. As such, she was sentenced to three years imprisonment. In a word, Egypt told Britain to "go stuff yourself". So much for National greatness on the world's scene. Therefore the passport colour change must come quick if Britain wants Egypt to change its mind.
The good old burgundy passport. Introduced in 1988 to replace the larger dark blue passport (which I always saw as black rather than blue), for the last three decades this conveniently sized burgundy document had allowed me into Israel, the USA, Singapore, Australia, along with Europe itself, including France, Italy, Kos, Rhodes, Malta, and Lanzarote of the Canary Islands. I have travelled the world with it. I spent countless nights in backpackers hostels with it, and including 1997 when I visited the Great Barrier Reef with it, newly gotten. However, for the Grand Canyon, visited for the second time in 1995, I still had the old blue passport, which I carried since adolescence. It was with this rather large, rather conspicuous document, that I twice hiked the Grand Canyon from the Rim to the River, the first in 1978 and again in 1995. Perhaps, to my thinking, such a passport stood as a symbol of national sovereignty. A great nation, one-time head of Empire, whose foundation of faith was, and more so now, on the bedrock of Darwin's Evolutionary theory. The return of the blue passport after more than three decades of the burgundy passport, restores our great nation to its former sovereignty, this time without the need for God to interfere, especially with such silly nonsense as the Young Earth Creationism theory.
With God thrown into the bin, Darwinism reigns. The future greatness of our country will have Evolution as its bedrock. According to Wikipedia, Divine Young-Earth Creationism is now perceived as a pseudoscience. That is, it is put on exactly the same level as the Ancient Astronaut Theory popularised in the 1970's by author Erich von Daniken and his ilk. Creationism is rejected by nearly all mainstream scientists.
Without Creation, Jesus Christ cannot have existed either. Without him there is no atonement, no salvation. With this there is no heaven and no hell. With Evolution, all people die once, physically, and that's the end of it. There is no room in Darwinism for the afterlife. And so with Brexit, with blue passports, along with Darwin as its modern messiah, Britain is set for greatness. I guess I need to wait for what this new year will bring.
And a happy New Year to you.