Sunday 3 June 2012

The big lunch without the flags...

On Monday we look forward to celebrating our 3rd 'Big Lunch' on Ashgrove, the road that Desmond Tutu House sits upon. It is a simple expression of community care, an attempt to knit neighbours together in a city that needs a sense of togetherness.

Polish, Pakistani, British, Russian, Lithuanian, Uruguayan and many more people with come out and share food together. A bouncy castle, a balloonist and a street entertainer will bring all the kids in the neighbourhood into a rare car free environment.

We do not need the monarchy for this to happen. I do hope that all those who are celebrating the Diamond Jubilee will get a real taste for this sort of event, and feel that they want to do it again and again. We do not need the anniversary of an outdated institution as an excuse for this to take place. We need to be doing it all the time. The bond on our street in not the Queen, it is a common need for people of different faiths and of no faith to come together and have some fun. We need royalist and republicans to mix. Christians and Muslims, anarchists and conservatives. We need spaces to grow together as people. But it cannot be under the banner of the celebration of the monarchy.

I'm sure that the queen is a very good person, and does her job in the best way that is perhaps possible. But the very idea of a monarchy should be discarded to the dustbin of history. As an institution, it enshrines inequality. It says that it is OK to be born into positions of power and wealth. None of us who want to see greater equality and hope for humanity can simply sit back and celebrate the Jubilee.

It's a Sunday, and in the Gospel story of the day Nicodemus, a person born into wealth and privilege, begins to learn from Jesus that it is not his birthright and background that counts. He, like all of us must be born again. This does not mean joining a 'happy clappy' club of Jesus freaks. It means abandoning the positions of status and power that this world offers, and instead welcoming in the reign of God, being born as 'children of God'. This is a new beginning in which our worth is not measured by what this world has given us, but is simply about being loved for who we are, created in the image of God.

Elizabeth and I are united by our faith, but divided by the trappings of this world. I pray for her on this day, but my prayer maybe different from the many said for her today. I ask her to renounce her position of power and privilege, to share all she has. It's for her own good. She shares the same sacred text as me, so she must have read that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich monarch to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Anyway, I must get back to party preparations. And before I forget, both Elizabeth and you are both very welcome to join us at the 'big lunch', celebrating neighbours coming together as equals.

1 comment:

  1. "I'm sure that the queen is a very good person, and does her job in the best way that is perhaps possible."

    I'm not sure that she knows how well you perform your job, either. But, to be fair, she doesn't know you personally so cannot really be expected to make a reasonable judgement.

    Good luck with your Big Lunch. I hope it is a success and is a celebration of community, neighbourliness and everything else that makes an effective society. And is unencumbered by sectarianism, bitterness, envy or slings and arrows sent from afar by those who don't know you.

    People around 'ere had rather a good time last weekend. Folk who didn't know each other in the normal course of events struck up acquaintances and friendships. Any excuse for a party, especially if it brings people together, hey? Normal community activities being resumed next weekend. Higher attendance than usual expected, possibly as a consequence of the improved feeling generated during the Jubilee.