that should not be asked

You have noticed that the French do not ask questions

Vous mangiez ici?
Vous alliez au football?

unless you see the sentence written down, or have a good ear for the French inflexion? This is because of a certain authoritarian regime, a republic ruled by an emperor, rather like an earlier Latin republic, from whose language the language of the French was derived, in which the asking of questions was a thing to avoid?

It is considered perhaps that if you are able to instil subservient fear into a rebellious people they will obey you. A certain oriental businessman* spoke about that before his recent detention. It is also clear that if you can be inhibited from asking questions, then the authority, or indeed anyone, need not answer and so cannot ever be accused of telling a lie?

A start must be made to this process of course, and there is no better start than to strike at a question which we must all ask ourselves and each other almost everyday of the month. The date used to be ubiquitous. It was printed on every sheet of newsprint, so half of the litter in our streets would display it to you. It would be seen on calendars hanging in almost every place you visit, and the desk of everyone in the office. Such things have all but disappeared, and now you might have to resort to a visit to the bank, if you can find a nearby branch which is open, or a post office. It is there on your computer screen, often in its default position of the bottom right hand corner of your screen, but, oh, the default view is not to display the date only the time, and the default status is, well quite naturally, the default status. So it is only natural that we should ask the question:

What is the date today?

Perhaps it is only the French who would escape republican ire and justice if they ask the question on the fourth of June. I should also remember that the fourth of July is also a day of disgrace and dishonour but for a different reason, you understand?

There was another day of disgrace and dishonour when the late Latin empire crucified a man for no wrong that he had done, indeed his judge acknowledged as much: I find no wrong in him. But that day was the day when God revealed his glorious grace towards a rebellious people in such a way that he had never done before nor shall ever need to do again. On that day the man upon the cross died for all who questioned his right to rule over them, paying the price himself for their rebellion. God has therefore raised him from the dead and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

* Xiaohongshu social media account blocked after Tiananmen post
E-commerce app Xiaohongshu’s social media account disappeared after a post on the sensitive date.

Car three

Coco’s dear old Corsa was so far out of condition.

One of the problems of lockdown is not being able to go out on those long runs that that you need to take to remain healthy and in good trim. She had fallen from grace and was running at an average of only just 34mpg. You may recall how much better she thought she was doing last fall, but see what too much sitting around, drinking too much fuel, and not enough hard work has done. Letting her off the leash however has done wonders. After a good cross-country run she came back with an cumulative average of just over 40mpg. Well done, old girl, a much better performance.

We can all suffer like that. Drinking too much fuel, sitting around, not enough hard work and we become unfit. Study to show yourself approved, the apostle said. Don’t misunderstand the word study, it means examine, test, watch, work hard, be careful. He tells us elsewhere to strengthen the hands that hang down and the feeble knees to walk straight. And the Lord himself tells us that it will not be easy, we must take up a cross if we would follow him. But it is far better than that because he took up his own cross to die in our place. He did not leave us to try to do enough for ourselves, he did everything that was required on our behalf.

So trust in him, and one say it will not just be, as to Coco’s dear old Corsa: Well done, old girl, but you will still end up on the scrap heap, but rather: Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.