An Evangelical Church in the Heart of Thatcham

Order! Order!

It was playful stuff recently appointing the Speaker of the House of Commons by re-enacting the centuries old tradition of pretending to drag him from his seat to take up his role. It’s a scene of initial protest before going willingly to bring order to a House that that knows much of sound and fury.

Another tradition, virtually now a thing of the past, is where an attending midwife or doctor takes a newborn, upends it and smacks its rear-end producing a wail of screeching protest. Thankfully this early remonstration dies away as the general sound and fury gives over to order.

For Shakespeare, these initial protests didn’t just sum up odds moments in life but really showed forth all of life and an underlying meaninglessness:

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. (Macbeth)

Now Jesus himself had a moment of profound protest there at the grave of his close friend Lazarus. We are told he was: “deeply moved and troubled”, and then he calls for Lazarus to come out. The original Greek word used in Jesus’ protest, is one normally attributed to a powerful horse snorting. Jesus was totally enraged at death and at the sound and fury that it brings.

However, his was no initial or acted protest but a saving protest. In bringing Lazarus up out of death: he gave a foretaste of his own forthcoming resurrection, and laid down a path of faith in him, which so consistently dispenses with sound and fury and puts in its place the wonderfully contented sigh: “Order, order.”

I am the Pastor at Thatcham Evangelical Church in West Berkshire. This is an FIEC (Fellowship of Evangelical Churches) affiliated church.