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dominion, democracy and debt

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom (dominion) come, your will be done …… “ [Jesus Christ, AD 30, Galilee, Israel, instructing his key followers] Matthew 6: 9-10


This model prayer of Jesus Christ is so familiar. It needs new words to help me not to sleep through it. What about “May your dominion come” instead of “Your kingdom come”?


“Dominion” by someone else? Not a good idea.


In democracies like Jersey – and the UK and US – dominion by our government is tempered by the fact that we choose those who are to have dominion over us. Regular elections (like those in Jersey this month and next) help to persuade us that it’s a good idea to allow others to have dominion over us.


But that doesn’t stop us complaining..... Many Jersey folk have renamed the BBC Radio Jersey “Phone-In” – the daily moan-in.


Those who are given dominion in democracies, it seems, need constantly to do all sorts of things to keep the electorate happy.


But have we all realised (until now) what has been taking place – so that people are pleased and not unhappy?


In the US there are about 300,000,000 people. The US has borrowed about $11,000,000,000,000 to keep those people happy. All of that has been spent - and is now owed to others all over the world. With the present value of the $, that means that every US citizen has been kept sweet by those with dominion borrowing and spending £14,000 on every man, woman and child. (Forget, for the moment, that those with dominion in the US can repay this borrowing only by asking each resident for the money back.)


What about the UK with 60,000,000 people? Those with dominion there have borrowed almost £600,000,000,000 and spent it on UK residents..... £10,000 for each man, woman and child – still owed to others.


Now for Jersey: 90,000 residents. Those with dominion over us have borrowed nil. In fact, our elected representatives have accumulated reserves totalling (approximately) £600,000,000. That’s almost £7,000 invested and earning income for every man, woman and child in Jersey.


That’s amazing, isn’t it........? Each of us in Jersey is £20,000 better off than each and every American. We ought to say so.


However that pales into insignificance compared with the actions and activities of the one to whom Jesus instructed his disciples to pray saying, “Your dominion come....”


The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator of all things – from Jersey, beautiful and glorious as it is, to the Jersey Royal potato, to Jersey milk, to the life that is in each one of us. And he has created this without incurring debt owed by him to others that we will later have to repay.


In fact, he has given creation to men and women. He is on record as saying, when creating man, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth ....”  


The least we can do to this “Our Father” (Jesus suggested to his followers – not others - that they use this form of address) then is to request, “May your dominion come”. May your dominion come because you are the giver, the supreme giver......


Those who want to be brought under the dominion of “Our Father” are able to make other requests. One that Jesus instructed his followers to ask for was “Forgive us our debts. Forgive us our trespasses”.


This Father whose dominion is so benevolent has a Son who gave himself so as to be able to forgive debts of every kind. Together they have dominion to give and to forgive.. We ought to say so.

‘Only those who do not desire power are fit to hold it. (Plato, Mathematician and philosopher, BC 428-328)
‘God’s goodness is the root of all goodness; and our goodness, if we have any, springs out of his goodness.’ (William Tyndale, Bible translator and martyr, 1494-1536)
Richard Syvret

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