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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Friends, I stand before you as a Jew, which means not just as an individual, but as a representative of my people. And as I prepared this lecture, within my soul were the tears of my ancestors. We may have forgotten this, but for a thousand years, between the First Crusade and the Holocaust, the word 'Christian' struck fear into Jewish hearts. Think only of the words the Jewish encounter with Christianity added to the vocabulary of human pain: blood libel, book burnings, disputations, forced conversions, inquisition, auto da fe, expulsion, ghetto and pogrom.
I could not stand here today in total openness, and not mention that book of Jewish tears.
And I have asked myself, what would our ancestors want of us today?
And the answer to that lies in the scene that brings the book of Genesis to a climax and a closure. You remember: after the death of Jacob, the brothers fear that Joseph will take revenge. After all, they had sold him into slavery in Egypt.
Instead, Joseph forgives -- but he does more than forgive. Listen carefully to his words:
You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good,
to do what is now being done,
to save many lives.
Joseph does more than forgive. He says, out of bad has come good. Because of what you did to me, I have been able to save many lives. Which lives? Not just those of his brothers, but the lives of the Egyptians, the lives of strangers. I have been able to feed the hungry. I have been able to honour the covenant of fate -- and by honouring the covenant of fate between him and strangers, Joseph is able to mend the broken covenant of faith between him and his brothers.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Lambeth 2008 * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Judaism * Theology Theology: Scripture
Previous entry (below): Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Second Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008
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