2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18

The Austrian photographer and humourist, Leopold Fechtner, once said that anniversaries were like strong martinis: once you’d had a few, you stopped counting how many you’d actually had[1].  Anniversaries are, of course, a time of reflection, a time for taking stock and thinking back over everything that has happened, whether in the interval between anniversaries, or over a much longer period.  And part of the “shock” we may experience once we do so is how much time has passed – and, indeed, how quickly the time seems to have passed.  Continue reading “2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18”

Genesis 32: 22-31

Toward the end of the American Civil War, the US President, Abraham Lincoln, experienced something of an epiphany.  Up until that point, Lincoln’s sole objective had been to preserve the United States as a Union; so much so that he had even gone on the record to state that if he could preserve the Union by not freeing any slaves, or only freeing some slaves, he would do that as happily as free all the slaves if that’s what it took to keep the United States intact.[1]  But as the war drew to its conclusion, Lincoln made the startling realisation that the nation which he had struggled so hard to preserve, and for which he had suffered so much, no longer existed.  The United States that had existed before the Civil War would not be the United States that would exist after it; the experience of war had forever changed the American people, and with that change, a new nation had come into being.  One observer noted that it was as though, looking back over the events of the conflict, Lincoln realised that some other force or power had been at work in the land, creating something new and wonderful from what would have otherwise been senseless bloodshed and destruction.[2]  Continue reading “Genesis 32: 22-31”

Luke 17: 5-10

George Orwell once observed that whatever is funny is subversive because every joke is like a custard pie in the face[1].   Orwell understood that what makes humour “funny” is the way it subverts and then inverts the expectations of “normality”.  The bringing together of elements which would otherwise be absurd or nonsensical, and their re-arrangement to create a new reality is the hallmark of the best jokes, the best comedians, and the best situational comedies. Continue reading “Luke 17: 5-10”