The Exotic–Yet Amazingly Simpatico–Ambassador

The Lord Jesus repeatedly refers to “the One Who sent me.” Another, perfectly plausible way to translate the Greek here would be: “the One Whose ambassador I am.”

I don’t know about you, but the idea of an ambassador always intrigues. It catapults my imagination into a cocktail party, with James Bond standing there in a tuxedo.

The ambassador of a foreign land, unknown to us, populated by a people of mysterious customs and counsels. A strange country, where they grow different fruits, weave exotic garments in shades of color we have never conceived, and make music with instruments in shapes we have never seen. They wear different kinds of hats, have different ideas and different philosophies. They have plans; they seek communication, perhaps friendship with us…so an ambassador has arrived from across the sea.

Christ comes from such an unknown place. In fact, from a place infinitely more unknown. Even if we learned today of an island country which had remained completely isolated from the rest of the world until now—even if such a place in some corner of the ocean sent an ambassador to us, it could not be anywhere near as thoroughly exotic and unknown as the domain from which the Christ has come.

But let’s not forget the other admirable quality of an ambassador. He comes from a land beyond our ken, but he also must possess the communication skills necessary to make it somehow part of our ken. His mission as an ambassador is to reveal and make intelligible to us all the exotic and mystifying things about the foreign land, to make them familiar to us, to introduce us into friendship with them.

Christ possesses this ambassadorial quality, too, in an eminent way. Not only is He skilled at communicating with us and opening up to us the mysteries of His homeland, He is, in fact, not a foreigner at all. He is one of us. Gosh, Christ is so human—He makes us look like rookies when it comes to knowing how to be human. He understands us better than we understand ourselves.

So: Let’s show our well-bred, James-Bond-like manners. Let’s quietly take our place next to the ambassador and spend the rest of our lives listening carefully to everything He says, so that we can learn all about His fabulous homeland. He has promised to take us there when the time is right. Because, it turns out that His homeland, strange as it is to us, is actually our homeland, too.

Who Stocked My Man?!

Before Darth Vader was Darth Vader, he enacted King Lear in Central Park.

…In both of our recent parables, emissaries of the master come to grief at the hands of recalcitrant subjects–and the master flies into rage at such ungrateful defiance.

If you are like me, this reminds you of the fourth scene of Act II of the great masterpiece.

Lear, arriving at Gloucester’s castle, finds his messenger confined in the stocks. Gloucester had warned that the king would not take it well that his man would be treated like a common criminal.

Drama of the most sublime intensity ensues… (You may recognize a prayer or two of Lear’s, or the famous “Reason not the need” speech.)

And guess what? Paul Scofield, sometimes known as Sir Thomas More,* also played King Lear! (And, no, it is not Judi Dench playing Goneril; it’s Irene Worth.)

NB. “A Man for All Seasons:” Greatest movie ever

2. Stay calm while watching clip #2. In the early seventies, they experimented with strange close-ups in a number of Shakespeare-movie productions.