Letters - 27 May 2022

From Matthew 24 to Rwanda

Matthew 24

Keith Denerley (18 February 2022) referred, I think, to my article in the Friend of 27 August 2021 when writing that: ‘The article jerked me not to just stand there, but to be actively doing something to hasten the “coming of the Kingdom”.’ Amen to that. However my main point is the true translation of the text is not that the time is [to be] shortened ‘because of the elect’ but through them. Certainly not ‘for the sake of them’ (in other words them standing faithfully and piously at the side and waiting, halos ready, for good to happen). 

As to what Jesus may have meant by ‘chosen’ (or ‘elect’), or whatever his lost Aramaic was, I am mindful of the words ‘All are called but few choose to listen’ (from A Course in Miracles, widely attributed to the living spirit of Jesus, as I would not contest); also of the Epistle of James, which Martin Luther branded a ‘sorry, tawdry epistle’ as it confronted Paul’s thesis of ‘justification by faith alone’, with his ringing ‘faith without works is dead’.

Keith finishes: ‘While the end is delayed for the sake of the elect, let the elect make best use of the opportunity.’ Good advice, backed by the wonderful words ascribed to the Buddha that love alone can banish hatred (not to speak of environmental destruction). However Matthew 24 states the end (not ‘of the world’, remember, but of this age of money, murder and lies) as being shortened not delayed, as Keith in fact stated in his opening paragraph. I suggest this is by the actions and not the mere faith or piety of the well-intentioned (if that is indeed the true meaning of ‘elect’), but through them. Through us. Revelations 3: 7-13 to the Church of Philadelphia also I think applies. We need to maintain not just the name of Jesus, but his actual teaching, which Keith most refreshingly paraphrases as ‘just get on with it!’

James Gordon


I really appreciated Elizabeth Coleman’s article (29 April), particularly her comments on Rwanda. My daughter-in-law holds both Rwandan and UK passports, and has family connections with Paul Kagame. When we visited Rwanda we stayed with Kagame’s aunt, and his wife visited during our stay. That was over ten years ago. Unsurprisingly, the family are great fans of Kagame. (My daughter-in-law is sure any refugees will have a brilliant time.) I used to share their admiration, but have become sadly disillusioned.

It is not safe to openly oppose Rwandan government policies, or to be an opposition politician: if the refugees were ill-treated, who would dare speak out?

Priti Patel has visited Rwanda, but only met a small circle of government officials; one wonders how much insight she has into the situation, At the same time, our government rightly applauds the brave people in Russia who oppose Vladimir Putin, and condemns his efforts to silence them. It does not make sense to advocate sending refugees to another dangerous country.

Marion Longstaff

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.