The well suited, bowler hatted, orange sash wearing official angrily said, “No one will tell me which road I can or cannot walk to church”. The words stuck in my mind and I couldn’t shift the image of the angry man who was on his way, with his marching band to his place of worship. Or was he? A little while later, in order to maintain the peace, the police tried to reroute the orangemen away from a possible flashpoint. But why stop trouble from the enemy, when you can make some of your own. After all, they didn’t really want to march, they wanted to fight, and fight they did.
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Luke 10:29 NIV
A modern day parallel would be where a protestant orange marcher, seeing his catholic neighbour hurting (that could be physical or emotional) would leave the marching band and try to look after the catholic. After all, the orangemen were on their way to church, right? If only it was that simple, or easy. But it isn’t because we have complicated it.
You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45 NIV
The man who was on his way to church had been walking behind an open Bible, a symbol of the faith he possesses, but it is evident that his Bible doesn’t have these passages, or if it did, he had missed them somehow. The resulting yob, mob violence against the police was inexcusable on every level. One of their ‘own’ MPs was even knocked unconscious as he tried to intervene, but a mob has no ears, just very angry voices, and wielding a big stick (or two!). Was I dreaming, or did Northern Ireland host the recent G8 summit, and receive all sorts of praise for the progress they had made in achieving peace across the sectarian divide? In the words of the ancient sage, ‘aye right!!’
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:21,22 NIV
In the interests of accuracy, could we rename the euphemistically titled ‘marching season’ to the ‘fighting season’, or maybe the ‘angry season’, or even the ‘hate season’? At least until that church going angry man, and others like him, can find these passages in the Bible?