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Reflection for February 16th 2014

Reflection for February 16th 2014

Deuteronomy doesn’t often figure in my reading but this one is a cracker: Genghis-khan-empire-at-his-death-1227Deuteronomy 30:15-20.  Let me translate:  live well by the law of love or die sadly pursuing other agendas.

While England under King John was pursuing pathetic quarrels with Scotland, Wales, France, Spain and the Pope in the early 1200s, Genghis Khan, an illiterate, fatherless, exiled, child, survived the Steppes wilderness to become ruler of the greatest empire the world has ever seen.  He fathered so many children that one in 200 men in Europe and Asia is a direct descendent.  Women found him irresistible, they had no choice.  But did this make him happy?  He conquered by one simple means.  He luxuriated in cruelty.  The more valiantly someone resisted his advance, the more lingering and painful would be his death.  Word spread.  Cities queued up to pay homage and invite him in as ruler.  Men, worldwide, inherit his genes.

He died, possibly stabbed by a woman he was in the process of subduing, and is buried in an unmarked grave in an unmarked location.  Today the empire, reduced to the huge country of Mongolia is the most sparsely populated and heavily polluted country in the world.

That is one model.  It works.

The other model, and there is little in between, is in the life of Jesus, and one might add many other examples of Jesus-shaped living; we all have our favourities and it is amazing how many are either black or from oppressed nations or peoples.  Living a loving life seems to get more difficult with affluence;  one of the false gods described in Deuteronomy.

It seems to be a matter of deciding what are to be the principles on which we base our lives, not just the principles about which we talk.  Discussion of loving actions and policies is not the same as living by them.

I recommend writing a creed to encapsulate one’s beliefs;  writing a statement of intent about one’s future habits and lifestyle.  Review them both often.  One can’t do this to spoken, or worse, unspoken thoughts;  only when one can see ink on paper (or pixels on an iPad I suppose).

So, Genghis Khan or Jesus?  Let’s take a stand, let’s do it now, let’s do it here.

Mervyn posts a reflection each week. Please join in; he welcomes comments.

About the Author:

Mervyn has worked as an engineer, as a teacher and headteacher in comprehensive schools, as a university lecturer and latterly as a dry-stone waller, and lay pastor of the church. He also serves as Eco Officer. His hobbies include walking and he leads holidays in Italy and here in the UK, especially holidays for families. He has been a local preacher in the Methodist Church for fifty years and has been riding motorbikes for slightly longer. He is married to the girl of his dreams and has several children and grandchildren of whom he is inordinately proud.

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