Wednesday, 25 March 2015

What kind of King...?

Tomorrow, at Leicester Cathedral, a King will be laid to rest.  Richard III has had something of a dubious reputation up to now but over recent months this seems to have been somewhat reassessed.

It's been remarkable to see just how many people have turned out to 'honour' this King on his last journey to the cathedral.  His death at Bosworth  in 1485 not only signalled the end of the House of York but effectively brought to an end the Battle of the Roses. Five hundred and thirty years is a long time to wait for a proper burial.

This re-appraisal of Richard III's life will, we are told, be further enhanced tomorrow as an appreciative message from the Queen is read out at his funeral.

I wonder what kind of King he really was?  'History', my teacher used to say, 'is always written by the victors', so in a sense we never really know the true nature of the characters who fill the narrative of our nation's story.

Palm Sunday, just a few days away, poses a similar question: What kind of King was Jesus?

As he rides into Jerusalem he seems to be greeted by an enthusiasm that all but evaporates by Good Friday. To many of his day, and perhaps even in ours, Jesus was a King who disappointed.  He embraced his death with dignity rather than retaliation and violence.

Our Lent journey is ending but our questions continue as to who this Jesus really was and what kind of King would suffer as his did upon a cross?

One bible commentator I read this week puts it like this: 'The failure of Jesus is his success' - I think I need another Lent to think that one through!

Best wishes,

Ian

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