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Jersey, the city

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” …… Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” Matthew 11: 1-6; 20-24
 

Much has been made in recent years of the fact that Jersey is “punching above its weight.” At one stage in its history Jersey Post had a powerful Director who punched above his weight. It wasn’t long before the Jersey members of the Communication Workers’ Union appointed a shop steward who also punched above his weight....

Something has happened here in Jersey during the years following WW2. Something non-existent has become reality. When did this happen? Without giving the matter very much thought it seems that the process (of Jersey becoming a city) might well have started in the 1950s when Insular Insurance was introduced.

This was (and is) a truly beneficial arrangement in support of the weak. But from that time something began to exist – for ordinary folk – which they could rely on. Collectively.
 
 
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‘There is nothing but heaven worth setting our hearts upon.’ (Richard Baxter, writer and poet, 1615-1691)

But the biggest move to city status didn’t come from within Jersey. As the 1950s and 1960s sped by non-Jersey folk saw – in Jersey – a society which did not need heavily to tax its own residents. They joined them. Together they became stronger yet.

Then came the 1970s. These were the years when a realisation dawned that one didn’t need to live in Jersey city to enjoy its strengths. All one had to do was place assets here. This perception by external people led to action which affected all Jersey folk. The wealth which entered Jersey gave rise to wealth within Jersey. Rapidly the walls of Jersey city became impregnable.

Yes, but it was during that time that Jersey city began to realise that it must punch. Other places were competing – trumped-up so-called cities.

Yes, and shortly after, Jersey city realised that it had enemies – very big enemies. What’s more, these big cities often do differently from what they say they do. Lies – and hidden weapons. Welcome, Jersey, to city status for real.

Jersey city today? Are the walls strong enough? Shall we foster gambling? We mustn’t make alcohol too expensive. To keep its city status Jersey city must bless the rich and (don’t say so just do so) mustn’t hear the needy cry (and won’t because they’re far away).

 
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‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out….. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents …..For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.’ (From a first-century circular letter to Hebrew Christians)

The extracts in bold above from Matthew’s eye witness biography of Jesus clearly place Jesus teaching and preaching in the cities. In the first part Jesus showed the messengers from the imprisoned John the Baptist what he, Jesus, was actually doing in the cities. As he said, “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” “Offended” by him? Yes, he’s not building a city.

In the second part Jesus addressed the cities. He could see clearly what was happening there in AD 30. He knew their real need. He knew how resistant they were to change.

He knew the way they were going and asked them to cry – for themselves in their own desperate need.

 
Richard Syvret

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