The Word on the Week

The Horn of Africa

The host nation for the soccer World Cup, South Africa, has introduced us to the modern horn of Africa – the vuvuzela. This instrument, blown with vigour, is responsible for the incessant noise which has blighted the opening matches of the competition. Heard on the telly, it resembles a swarm of bees in the room. Experienced in the stadium, each horn producing up to 135 decibels, the noise must be mind numbing.

At least that is the only explanation I can offer for the miserable standard of football being played on the pitch. The players are cut off from each other so that familiar calls at key moments in the game go unheard. Encouragement or advice from supporters, for so long an integral component in the enjoyment of the game, has been neutralised. Communication, by radio between the referee and his officials, has been rendered impossible so that yellow cards have been substituted for the referees “word of advice”!

Broadcasters like BBC have turned to technology to tune out the vuvuzela from interfering with reception. The unfortunate supporters have had to purchase earplugs, being sold at stalls by opportunistic vendors, on their way to the games!

What has the Bible to say about horns? Quite a lot!

The word is used with a range of meanings. There is the ram’s horn blown at the destruction of the walls of Jericho. Then we hear of the Prophet Samuel anointing young David with a horn of oil. In the Book of Daniel the horn represents the might of nations as he prophesies their rise and fall. It is this `mighty` aspect of the horn, applied to salvation which John the Baptist’s father Zechariah prophesied at the birth of his son, that characterised King David and now applies to King Jesus.

Zechariah used the expression in St Luke’s Gospel chapter 1 verse 69 – “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David….and you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God.

That salvation is available today to all who look to the risen Jesus – even to those who blow the vuvuzela!