Jane Austen was a rural parson’s daughter with no formal education and yet her book ‘Pride and Prejudice’ remains one of the best loved novels in the English language since it first appeared over two hundred years ago. The brilliantly adapted TV version by Andrew Davies in 2005 and a film version that followed brought to life this wonderful story for a whole new generation. Browsing through the TV channels this week I came across a re-run of the successful TV version and I just had to stay and watch. You can almost see the sparks fly as the spirited Elizabeth Bennet handles the proud Mr Darcy who reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman he one time considered beneath his class. Do they deal with their pride and prejudices? No spoilers here!
Human pride and prejudice cause untold misery and suffering in our divided world and will do so until we learn greater tolerance and understanding. Jesus taught us to love God and our neighbour as ourselves and there it begins. He bridged the gulf that existed between the religious factions and firmly condemned the pride and arrogance of the religious elite. Long held attitudes which had enslaved the most vulnerable and poorest were challenged as he told them not to look at the speck in the eyes of others when there was a massive plank in their own. Two thousand years later those truths remain challenging us in the church as we seek to share the good news of the Gospel. As Paul the Apostle proclaimed. ‘Jesus has broken down the dividing walls of hostility’ and we must never, ever, build them up again.
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