Blue days

Chelsea triumphed and the Tories took office all in the same week. Both share the colour blue and one commentator asked us to raise our eyes to the moon to see if it was blue!

They were very different spectacles but they both had the eyes of millions around the world on the TV.

I can understand a Zimbabwean enjoying the success of Chelsea late into the night – but there were people in Goromonzi eating into their sleep so enthralled were they by the sight of Cameron and Clegg clinching a deal.

There is something enticing about seeing skill and perseverance rewarded and we focus our eyes on the individuals who scored the points. They enthral us because in some way we all want to shine and succeed. It answers something deep within us. The heroes of this weeks events were lifted above the ordinary and in so doing they lifted us too. We shared briefly in their success and somehow it was ours too. When we see people experience a moment of triumph we sense for a moment that it is our triumph as well.

This is the time of the Ascension and we can easily lapse into seeing it as just one more Church event which has little to do with our lives; Jesus lifting off from the outskirts of Bethany (Luke 24:50) doesnt seem at first sight to be something we can relate to. Perhaps the words remind us of a voice from Cape Canaveral as a rocket blasts off for space shouting we have lift off!

But the Ascension is also about us. It is about that final event in our life when the words, I am going to the Father (John 13:1) suddenly come to be ours. The aspirations that we have, our longing which we cannot put into words (Romans 8:26) are finally realised.

Aspirations! The poet Browning wrote, something like, if we do not stretch beyond our reach what is a heaven for? The world is laid out before us beckoning us to discover ourselves in the struggle to mould it to our needs. The pioneering French pilot St Exupery, after battling the winds of the South Atlantic in a fragile plane in the 1930s, wrote man measures himself against the obstacle.

In other words we become people through engaging with opposition. People round the world are thrilled by the skill of Drogba people in civil society, students, professionals in various fields and businessmen delight in mastering processes, exams, diseases, markets, etc.

And so it is in politics. People yearn and struggle for a democratic process to mature around them in which they can realise their aspirations. They are fascinated to see this process at work in another country which has hammered a system into place over centuries. Cameron and Clegg had to make their decisions strictly within the time honoured customs and rules of British politics. They could not make up these rules as they went along. Many millions were fascinated to see this process unfold and to realise that when the institutions are more powerful than the individual, personal freedom is secure.

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