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The Word on the Week

A Right Royal Show

There is no doubt but that the Brits are in a league of their own when it comes to State visits. Better than anyone they can turn on the style. Recipient of this treatment in the coming week will be our President Higgins with his wife Sabina.

Everyone who is anyone will be there. Over the three days many hands will be shaken and words found to extol the virtues of both countries.

Feeding off the back of the Northern Ireland “Peace Process” the Royal Banquet at Windsor Castle in honour of President Higgins will be an unmissable affair. However some may hesitate. Perhaps it is understandable that Martin McGuinness, the former IRA Leader, has not yet accepted the invitation as he has much to lose as well as much to gain by his being there. His attendance would be significant.

The Queen has already set the scene by inviting members of the Irish community in Britain to Buckingham palace last week. There she renewed her acquaintance with the Cork fishmonger with whom she formed a friendship on her visit here two years ago.

It is good to have these signs of a closer relationship as they may have to withstand the turmoil of Scottish Independence and the UK leaving the EU in the near future. There are implications for Northern Ireland should either of these events materialise.

The Bible indicated that Jesus kept some strange company and never more so than at his death when he was hung between two criminals. One of them repented and, in his own way, committed himself to Jesus. St Luke records the dialogue, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”(Chapter 23 verses 42/43).

So the ex-criminal was included in the guest list of the heavenly banquet joining that multitude from every tribe and language and people and nation – the redeemed by Jesus, Revelation Chapter 5 verses 9/10.

Banquets on earth can be great occasions where mutual trust can be developed but there is always the possibility of misunderstandings, they are a work in progress.

Banquets in heaven will be attended by those in whom Jesus has finished the work of the new creation they will be eternally complete in their Saviour whom they serve in love (Revelation Chapter 19 verses 6/8).

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.