The Joy of Mercy

Any good travelling public speaker (those who don’t just read from a script or teleprompter) will tell you that they will often give the same talk in various locations, wording key points slightly differently and emphasising different things according to the specific needs of the region, or even responding to the particular attitudes of the audience themselves. At the same time, those listening to a talk will remember certain details more than others as they summarise what they heard. Add to that particular themes that individual biographers may want to focus on and we can end up with several written versions of a given talk. Let’s look at one alternative version of one of the sayings quoted two entries ago:

Luke 6:37-39

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Continue reading

The Joy (and Terror) of Judgement Day – Part One

So, following on from last week’s entry, your life on earth is borrowed, your possessions are borrowed, the atoms in your body are all borrowed, your every waking (and sleeping) moment is borrowed, entrusted to you.

This reminded me of the words of the Inquisitor from Red Dwarf:

“You have been granted the greatest gift of all, the gift of life. Tell me, what have you done to deserve this superlative good fortune?”

It is a sobering question, because the honest answer is nothing. Life has been granted to us not out of obligation to us for something we have done, not a reward or wages, but as a gift, the greatest of gifts, perhaps even something, dare I say it, that is worth being grateful for in of itself.

In context however, that is not really the question that the Inquisitor was asking. What he was asking was far more serious, even terrifying:

You have been given this astounding gift, this incredible range of opportunities. What have you done with them to justify this enormous investment in you? What reasons will you give to dissuade me from erasing you from history and giving your opportunities to someone else? Continue reading


*author’s note, when reading this, use the three-syllable variant pronunciation of ‘cruelly’ and ‘clearly’, i.e. say them with a bit of a flourish. Also, this is another old one, written before the financial crisis started.


Deeper in debt than I ever hoped to be;
Promises forgotten or retracted cruelly.
My own words used against me
And twisted full of spite;
No sign of dawn approaching
On this terrifying night.

My creditor approaches with documents in hand;
As fear engulfs my trembling heart I lose the strength to stand.
Falling down upon my knees I plead against all hope
For mercy or another day to climb this deadly slope.

“Enough!” He says, holding the deed up high for all to see.
“No more delays, the sum is due, it’s all here clearly.
The time has come to end this,” he grins with childish glee,
Then tears the paper into shreds and suddenly I’m… free?