The Word on the Week


Potus                      Word on the Week          15th April 2023.

It’s not every week that we learn a new word but then it’s not every week the President Of The United States spends four days in Ireland!   It takes a moment or two for the penny to drop and then someone mentions the word ‘acronym’ and the problem is solved!

It’s probably the most expensive Irish interlude ever.   The ‘Presidents Men’ were legion and their transport awesome.   They paid the not inconsiderable policing bill and took over the Conrad Hilton Hotel. What’s more they probably filled it!

The reason for the visit was to celebrate 25 years of peace following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.   Ongoing difficulties made the celebration less wholehearted but Joe Biden gladly made use of the space afforded to extol the merits of having Irish ancestry!

In the numerous speeches that punctuated the visit we got many quotations from Mother Biden and her predecessors.   These focussed around the shared values we have with the US.   Those values were named as being Hope in the heart, Dignity or Respect for Immigrants and Manual Workers, and Possibilities which were defined as having Courage in Faith.

Biden’s faith was evident in his speeches and exhortations but never more evident than when he learned the Priest who administered the last rites to his son was in the area.   “I must meet him” was his immediate response and the subsequent meeting brought him comfort.   He called the incident a sign.  

The proclamation of his faith in God, his upholding of family values, his pride in his ancestry, his belief in the hereafter are all delightfully Biblical and counter-cultural in today’s world.  You have to be a cynical journalist to read into them some sort of vote collecting exercise.   The man was enjoying himself doing things he considered to be important in the land of his forebears. In a broken world the Potus is not perfect.  The surprise is that he is not what we have come to expect from leaders – power hungry and bent on control.   Here is part of a Prayer of Moses the Man of God.  Psalm 90.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 

You return man to dust

and say, “Return, O children of man!”

For a thousand years in your sight

are but as yesterday when it is past,

or as a watch in the night.

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,

like grass that is renewed in the morning: 

in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;

in the evening it fades and withers.

… So teach us to number our days

that we may get a heart of wisdom.