25 Oct 2020 • Articles
The fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot, but not necessarily in that order !That was how people of the seventeenth century tried to settle their differences. The ruler had been chosen and agreed - Queen Elizabeth I had no heir, so the choice was to have an empty throne or to accept a new monarch. It looked like a good idea: England and Scotland were to be united, King James VI of Scotland would be also King James I of England; he promised to rule justly and without prejudice, and everyone took an oath of loyalty to him. But, in the world of government, things are rarely that simple.
James tried hard to hold together all the different groups who each wanted their own way. He talked to them all and tried to understand them, searching for ways of finding solutions and compromises which might please everyone while still doing what was right in God's eyes, but there were some groups which would only be satisfied if others were destroyed.
Fortunately, the Gunpowder Plot failed. Unfortunately, the plotters were then punished with torture and death.
How much better it would have been if all the leaders of the different factions had been willing to sit down and discuss openly and sensibly what they wanted and why they wanted it. So often things go wrong just because people go off in a huff and sulk or complain in corners or, much more seriously, try to force their own way on the people with whom they disagree. Sometimes, murdering someone's reputation can turn into the temptation to murder them in reality, and never forget, even if it is only words and not actions, Jesus said that being unjustly angry was itself the road to murdering one's own eternal life.
Remember, Jesus said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers'.