Here and Now

Picture courtesy of Rome.info

panorama_vatican

This week will see an ever increasing attention on Rome by the world. Since Papal conclaves naturally fascinate the faithful and the unbeliever in almost equal measure. More to the point for today is that the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church will have a global influence on the future of the whole Christian Church not least in the way that those outside see it.

From that viewpoint, I have been more observant of the news than usual. Yet this has thrown up some surprises. Not least a Catholic priest in St Peter’s Square, on being asked about possible changes the new Pope might bring in, claimed that such possibilities would not happen as they were not of God. Next day, a Channel 4 commentator made clear that  without changes the Roman Catholic Church and, by inference, Christianity would fizzle out.

Both speakers seemed intimate with what God thought! Yet who can? For the last lines of Minnie Louise Haskins’ often quoted poem – I said to the man at the gate of the year – are much less repeated. But they contain a warning for they are:

In all the dizzy strife,

of things both high and low

God hideth his intentions.

Let us then put our hand into the hand of God, look after the now and trust Him to take care of both the past and future.

Tweets of Wisdom

Over the next few weeks, new MP after callow MP will make their maiden speeches in the Commons. Yet how much will the world be changed? Precious little I’ll be bound! But it was not always so . For my continuing reading of Juliet Nicolson’s history of 1911, ‘The Perfect Summer’, has brought me to that infamous dandy, brilliant barrister and MP, FE Smith. Now when he made his hour long debut to the House in the early 1900’s, his own party were rolling in their pews and the scowling opposition were mattering ‘Who is this boy!” Indeed, his barnstorming performance even created quite a flutter in the Ladies Gallery with many invitations to dinner the outcome of his eloquence. So he at least changed his social circle and probably his girth. No wonder he quickly became a companion of the young Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, whose own quick wit earned him the epithet – he thinks with his mouth. Well where are fine words to be found today? Not coming out of politicians if the General Election’s National Debates were their arena. Broadcasters too hardly rate much higher; tune in reluctantly to Talksport Radio if you don’t believe me . And certainly there are few great orators in pulpits these days; myself included. In truth, even the average ‘Thought for the Day’ is more likely to lull back to slumber than inspire the redeeming of the world. No, today’s greatest wordsmiths are found in the advertising profession. For if you have to get your message over in 30 seconds of exorbitant TV time then you do need to have your verbal wits about you. Maybe then, there is something to be said, or not, for the Twitter discipline of having only 140 characters. Since if we can only get one word in edge-ways, in this talkative globe, let it be the right one!