Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Not A Good Example

Hnaef is most taken by the Collect for St Stephen's Day. So much so, indeed, that he has passed it on for my perusal. And I must be honest here - it's surprised me as well.

"Grant, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen...."

I mean, don't get me wrong. It was noble of Stephen, and all that. One admires the martyrs, of course. But I'd respectfully suggest that the prayer in time of sufferings for the testimony of truth should maybe be about us finding miraculous ways out of that suffering, or maybe having the wisdom not to get into that suffering in the first place.

Ideally, of course, one would want to get to the point where we don't need to suffer for the "testimony of truth", because we all agree that all our independent views of truth are equally valid. That will, of course, require everyone else to be as tolerant and enlightened as we ourselves are.

But however you look at it, I don't see how the Prayer Book encouraging Hnaef to look to the heavens for consolation, rather to the earth for an easier way out, is helping anyone.

I told Hnaef that, if he wanted, I'd write a letter to the author, suggesting a more realistic prayer for the next edition. But Hnaef told me not to bother - he'd probably never read it.

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