From the Dean's Desk
Good News of the World
The News has been in the news at the moment, or to put it another way, The News of the World is news all over the world.
In reflecting on the ongoing phone hacking scandal a couple of scriptural verses come to mind. Firstly ‘be sure your sins will find you out.' (Numbers 32:23)
There is certain irony that great efforts had been made to keep secret those actions seeking to reveal that which should have been secret. But now all is coming to light.
Quite rightly such invasion of privacy is seen to be reprehensible and those responsible should be called to account and not allowed to hide behind paper closures and plausible deniability. It is also right that we as a society hold our press and media to account for its reporting standards.
But are we as a society any better, is it only the sins of The News of the World which are being found out, or our own?
That now defunct paper was a spectacularly successful tabloid because it gave people the kind of news that people wanted to read. Just as it was not only the greed of financial managers which caused the Global Financial Crisis but the greed of the consumer who kept calling for greater return on investment, so this failure by the media also reflects our society's unabated appetite for the titillation.
Can society really judge phone hacking unless it is willing to turn from its desire for the sensational, celebrity-driven and ultimately superficial?
In these events our sin has found us out.
But secondly, with all this talk of invasion of privacy my thoughts also keep turning to the prayer of preparation with which we start every Communion Service:
‘Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden ...'
This is based on passages like Romans 2:16 where the Apostle Paul says that on the Day of Judgement ‘God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.'
Privacy is a legitimate concern in society but we must remember that God has full access to all data about us, and he doesn't need to do any hacking to get it.
When the dirt is revealed it is best to come clean, as the prayer continues, ‘cleanse the thoughts of our hearts', and it is wonderful to know that he does, and forgives us, removes our sin as far as the East is from the West.'
Now that is Good News For the World.