In St Helier this weekend there is a “market” with all kinds of goodies from Normandy. The reason? Exactly 1,100 years have passed since Charles the Simple of France obtained peace for this area of Northern France by the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (AD 911) and his surrender to Rollo, the Viking pirate chief from the North – from Scandinavia. Rollo’s French lands became known as Normandy - “Norman’s Land”.
Around 933 Jersey became part of Normandy and, later still, a direct descendant of Rollo, William, was born in 1028 AD. With the help of ships and men from Jersey, William “the Conqueror” conquered England and became its King in AD 1066 - the year known to all our schoolchildren even today. The conquered King of England was, of course, King Harold who was apparently killed by an arrow in the eye.
Some years ago, at a time when Harold Wilson was Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the ten Bailiff of Jersey, when speaking at official functions honouring dignitaries visiting Jersey would remind them of the time when Jersey gave Harold “one in the eye.”
But what about Rollo? Interestingly, an ancient legal injunction from the time of Rollo remains as part of the customary law of Jersey. It’s called the Clameur de Haro. An offended person has to go down on his knees in the presence of the offender and at the place where the offense has occurred.
He then cries, “Haro! Haro! Haro! A l’aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort.” (Hear me! Hear me! Hear me! Come to my aid, my Prince, someone does me wrong.) The first Prince to whom this was addressed was probably Rollo.
Rollo was a fighting man through and through. Battles and sieges were his forte. He fits the words in bold above.
This year world leaders in the Arab Spring countries continue this killing which began as soon as human beings entered this world. Colonel Gaddafi in Libya: President Saleh of Yemen, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, King Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain to name a few.
What about the Clameur de Haro? Well, that was paralleled before AD 911. And many parallels are here today.
When wronged we seek redress from a powerful “Prince”...........
And, as Jesus said so concisely to Pilate in AD 33 (see bold above) all “Princes” of this world have fighters to fight for them. That’s why we go to them for help.
How come Jesus did not have fighters to fight for him? He told Pilate that it was because his realm was not of this world. And what then happened to Jesus – Jesus without fighters? Wrongly convicted as a criminal worthy of capital punishment by the religio-political court of the Jewish Sanhedrin and by the politico-military Roman Court, he was executed.
There’s not much to commend belonging to his realm is there?
Before you decide that for yourself for ever you need to know that he rose from the dead.
And, at the same time, you need to consider whether you want to continue to be part of this killing world for ever.
Pilate killed, Rollo killed, William the Conqueror killed, Gaddafi killed, Britain killed, the US killed .........
Shall I call on Princes to kill on my behalf when I have been wronged?
Or shall I seek another realm that this man disclosed?