.confident in God
I’m not sure if small children today are told the old tale of the Emperor’s new clothes (watch at this link) but if not let’s make sure that we teach the parable in all schools of higher learning.
We stand no show of living with integrity without understanding that when fear and pride cause us to hide in the crowd we have sold our souls.
Our silence in the face of wrong can lead to tragedy in our families, among friends, in our communities and in our world.
On one level the Emperor’s tale is a story of two tailors who offer the emperor a fine new suit of clothes with a unique quality. It will be visible only to the most intelligent, giving the ruler a way of determining which of his subjects is wise and which is foolish.
Of course all who saw the emperor in his new suit saw him naked, but would not admit this. Instead they praised the skill of the tailors in producing such a fine outfit.
The people doubted themselves, knowing they could not see the tailored suit but presuming it must be there because the authority had told them so. They certainly weren’t going to speak the truth and risk ridicule.
Finally it was a young boy who spoke honestly and called out: “the emperor has no clothes.”
At this point everyone realised that the boy spoke the truth, and felt foolish for not speaking up themselves.
Today’s Old Testament Reading is the same tale with the addition of God as the source of personal honestly, truth and integrity. It is one of the longest readings in the Church year and for that reason I fear may readers may cut it short. For this reason I have recorded the full seven minutes – and you can listen at the link below, perhaps as you drive to work.
In this account of the lecherous voyeurs it is the boy Daniel who is brave enough to call out injustice and saves the life of the wrongly accused Susannah.
The adults are silent and side with the crowd of accusers.
The integrity and courage of the boy spotlights the immaturity and cowardice of those in leadership.
There is an adage that all that is required for evil to prosper is that good people do and say nothing.
I’m inspired by a couple of key points in the story.
First the young and vulnerable Susanna remains confident in God.
“Tearfully she turned her eyes to heaven, her heart confident in God”
Confident in God.
I like that.
Confident in God.
Then we meet the young Daniel:
“The Lord heard her cry and, as she was being led away to die, he roused the holy spirit residing in a young boy named Daniel …”
God roused the spirit residing.
The spirit residing.
I like that phrase too: the spirit residing. The spirit already residing in Daniel. But Daniel was able to respond to the residing spirit and take action.
I’m challenged by this. God roused the spirit that was already residing in Daniel, but Daniel had the maturity,
So today I an inspired by these two young people: Susanna who remained confident in God even in the face of unjust and painful death, and Daniel who responded to the Spirit residing in him.
You can listen to the Susanna and Daniel inspiration by clicking on the link below.
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