THE IRON LADY: I have to thank my friend Steve Parker for pointing me to the article that redirected my thought processes this morning. Steve’s motivation was simply to share a reference to the “Whole Armor of God” Bible passage our small group discussed last week. The consequence – no big surprise – is a pageful of words from yours truly.
Wednesday’s state funeral for former UK prime-minister Margaret “The Iron Lady” Thatcher was a huge media event. The processional started in the chapel at Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and ended with a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
THE TEXAN WHO STOLE THE SHOW: During the service, one of the scripture selections was read by Thatcher’s granddaughter, Amanda Thatcher. Amanda (19), who lives in Texas and attends university in Virginia, presented herself with grace and read the Ephesians (6:10-18) passage with poise; she is also an enthusiastic Christian.
(the passage includes, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…” v 13).
End of story, right? We’ve all attended funeral services where the scripture was read by a person of faith, and read well. Why is Derek even writing about this today?
Well, here’s why. The article I’m referencing had the following headline: “The Texan who stole the show at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.” The piece discussed how – in consequence – “The British Media is agog….”
“As the Guardian notes in its excellent profile of the young Thatchers, Amanda’s religiosity lined up nicely with Maggie’s hard-nosed political and social conservatism.”
What? Being a Christian lines up nicely with Margaret Thatcher’s hard-nosed political and social conservatism? Is this the limited picture the secular world has of what it means to follow Jesus?
SECULAR SOCIETY: Well, yes; because while the UK is even further down the road to being a fundamentally secular society than the USA, it’s a road both cultures are on. Consequently – and especially in the UK – it takes a huge media event such as a state funeral to put the scriptures in front of most people.
The result, then, of an attractive, well-spoken young-adult delivering a timely Bible-passage, is dramatic. Because people are hungry, and the Word of God is the only nourishment that will even begin to satisfy.
Therein lies the topic of my post on this beautiful April morning. Not my frustration at such clichéd misrepresentations of faith; not my shock at the distasteful declaration that someone “stole the show” at a memorial service; not even my concern that so many people are completely ignorant when it comes to the good news of the Gospel of Love…
- Not my frustration at such clichéd misrepresentations of faith;
- Not my shock at the distasteful declaration that someone “stole the show” at a memorial service;
- Not even my concern that so many people are completely ignorant when it comes to the good news of the Gospel of Love…
- …But the encouraging truth that there is an obvious deep hunger for God.
HOPE: What I am focusing on this morning is the encouraging truth illustrated by the British press and its reaction to a simple reading from the Bible. There is a deep hunger for the Word of God, and those of us who already love it must work hard to find creative ways to challenge the world with its beauty, it’s truth, and it’s power.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:14-18)
“Amen!” – DEREK