Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All This Has Happened Before and Will Happen Again

Here's an odd convergence of readings. First, from the prophet Haggai:

The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: "Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.

" 'On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty."


And from the poet T. S. Eliot, in his play "Murder in the Cathedral":

You are the Archbishop who was made by the King; whom he
set in your place to carry out his command.
You are his servant, his tool, and his jack,
You wore his favours on your back,
You had your honours all from his hand; from him you had the
power, the seal and the ring.


Two signet rings--one from the king, given to the archbishop; the other from God, given to the governor. But they signify very different things: the ring of God is a reminder of his earlier covenant promise, a reminder that God yet abides with this people. The ring of the king, Eliot reveals, is an act of tyranny, a power play asserting the primacy of the king over the church. God tells his people earlier in Haggai "In this place I will grant peace" (Haggai 2:9); Archbishop Thomas effectively labels the behavior of the king as a way of the world: "Petty politicians in your endless adventure!"

1 comment:

L.L. Barkat said...

Just musing on your musings, quietly.

And, hey, your comment on my "Go Viral" post made me laugh. :)