Part of a series of "rambling reflections" by Pastor David Riley – a church minister located on the Australian Gold Coast in Australia. Make sure you click the "follow" button to receive an update on these articles as soon as they're posted.
Arthur Wellesley – the 1st “Duke of Wellington” – is one of the most famous men of the nineteenth century. The Duke was a decorated soldier and statesman – even becoming the British Prime Minister.
But what the Duke of Wellington is most famous for is being the commanding army officer of the British forces when they defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and the French army at the Battle of Waterloo in the year of 1815.
As a man of faith, the Duke of Wellington would regularly take Communion at his local church where the tradition was that parishioners would come down to the front and be served by the minister while the kneeled at the church’s alter.
And when the Duke of Wellington was at the table nobody else dared come forward until he had finished.
One day, at the height of the Duke’s fame and power, he was taking Communion when a poorly-dressed elderly man walked up one of the church’s aisles, and when reaching the Communion table, knelt down close by the side of the Duke of Wellington.
Immediately there was tension in the church, and a small commotion from the other parishioners present interrupted the reverent silence.
Someone came down and touched the poor man on the shoulder, and whispered to him to move further away from the Duke, or even better – to rise and walk away, and wait until the Duke had finished receiving the bread and the wine.
But the great army commander had seen the meaning of that touch on the shoulder and perhaps partly heard the whisper in the old man’s ear.
The Duke of Wellington quickly clasped the old man’s hand and held him to prevent the old man from standing up. In a respectful but firm whisper, the Duke of Wellington said to the elderly gentleman: “Don’t move…. We are all equal here.”
This story from two centuries ago illustrates one of the key messages of the Gospel – that “we are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28).
In a world of significant and increasing disparities – we regularly need reminding that in the eyes of our creator we are all loved and valued the same. There is no differences between black and white, rich and poor, male or female.
God loves each one of us equally – and the ultimate demonstration of that love is Christ’s submission to the cross for the salvation ofeveryone.
At the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ – we are all equal there.
About this blog: David Riley is a Christian minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series.
Charles Laughton was a famous English actor. Classically trained, Laughton performed in many of Shakespeare’s plays in London and went on to star in a number of major Hollywood films.
There’s a story from Charles Laughton’s life that illustrates the difference between acting and living.
Laughton was attending a Christmas party with family friends in London one year. During the evening the host of the party asked everyone to recite a favourite poem or passage from literature that best represented the spirit of Christmas. When it was the famous actor Charles Laughton’s turn he skilfully recited Psalm 23 from the Bible. Everyone, of course, applauded his performance and then it moved onto the next person’s turn and then onto the next.
The last to participate was an adored elderly aunt who had dozed off in a corner. Someone gently woke her and explained what going on. She thought for a moment and in a shaky voice this dear old lady began to recite Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…”
There was a slight disquiet in the room for a a very brief moment as everyone realised the aunt wasn’t aware Laughton had shared the exact same passage a few minutes earlier, but they allowed her continue. But within a couple of lines of Psalm 23 something happened – the emotion with which this old lady spoke these famous words of Scripture took the gathering by surprise. When she finished there were audible sobs from some of those gathered, so unexpectedly moved were they by the re-telling of these ancient words.
When the party was over and Charles Laughton was leaving the host thanked him for coming, and then awkwardly commented on the difference in responses from Laughton’s reciting of Psalm 23 to that of his old aunt.
Charles Laughton’s response is said to have been: “Yes, well, I guess I simply know the Psalm – but she clearly knows the Shepherd.”
Being a follower of Jesus is not acting a part but living a real relationship with your Creator.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, and behold – the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
About the author: David Riley is a christian minister on the Australian Gold Coast. This article is from a series on his blog “Reverential Ramblings”.