Thursday, November 24, 2011

leaf sermon less

At this time of year I often find myself snapping a leaf like this one, rain soaked and flattened into the pavement.  It is the same sort of photograph, but  of a different leaf faded eroded  to form  a different picture.

Almost by chance I find myself reading, in the King James version of the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount which begins in Chapter 5 of the Gospel according to St Matthew. I read it on my Kindle which makes it surprisingly more accessible than my old bible. So many of the verses are familiar from earlier reading, probably at school, perhaps later, but still a long time ago, that it seems that I am being prompted to recall what I already know by heart.  I find myself surprised,  though it is almost a platitude to say so,  how many of the phrases ( even more than I thought)  are now part of the English language. 
With the recent occupation of the area in front of St Paul's Cathedral in London by anti-capitalists confronting  the  bankers of the City of London, several clerics asked the question: which side would Jesus have been on?  The answer is in The Sermon on the Mount. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and dust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal".
This and what follows  must be among the most often quoted and, at the same time,  the most widely ignored  pieces of advice in any religious doctrine. That may also be said for the earlier demand: "For I say unto you , Love your enemies, bless them  curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you." Not much sign of that nowadays. Or ever.

A familiar sound on the brick pavements of Tunbridge Wells is the rattle of someone pulling  over them an item of wheeled luggage on his or her way to the railway station. Only a few years ago you saw people staggering under the weight of one or two overloaded suitcases, and a heavy puffing sound resulting from the exertion. One thing at least is better than it used to be.

No comments: