Advent Rose

rose_02_bg_040106Roses have prickles. They give the plant a bit of purchase as it elbows its way slowly upwards. Rough edges enable growth.

Prophets are prickly. They have rough edges. They are not conventional. They are not welcomed. They are difficult to live with. I like people with rough edges: they get things done! It’s the rough edges that provoke new growth. Evolution from the edges.

Prophets are not ‘nice’. To be called ‘nice’ is the worst possible insult.

Geoffrey Clayton, some time Vicar of Chesterfield, then Archbishop of Cape Town, was prickly. He is reputed to have said when he was ordained in 1909 that he didn’t want anyone to say of him ‘our nice new curate.’ He ruefully added after a lengthy pause: ‘and no-one ever did.’

On Ash Wednesday 1957 he signed a letter on behalf of the South African Bishops telling the Prime Minister that they would neither obey the laws enforcing Apartheid, nor counsel their congregations to do so. He died the next day.

It’s as well to recall some of the shoulders on which Nelson Mandela was able to stand.

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