What would Jesus do?

By Weenson Oo on 10:41

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60 days have passed since the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp was established. With the location of it’s initial target being in privately-owned Paternoster Square which had been sealed off by the police, the camp was set up in the vicinity of St Paul’s Cathedral as a peaceful demonstration against economic inequality, social injustice and corporate greed along with other inconsistencies in the society of today. Initially the cathedral was happy for the right to protest to be exercised peacefully outside the building to the extent of asking the police to leave the area. Then within a two week period the cathedral closed it’s doors on the grounds of health and safety concerns surrounding the camp only to reopen them a week later when these issues had been addressed. Disagreements as to how the continued presence of the camp should be handled resulted in the resignations of the canon Dr Giles Fraser, the part-time chaplain and finally the dean of the cathedral in a show of dissent against the cathedral’s intention to join the City of London Corporation in a forced eviction of the protestors. Since then and while the Corporation continued to adopt a position to remove the camp, the cathedral had distanced itself from a position of actively seeking to remove the protestors given that the debate promoted by the demonstration appears to have support from leading members of the Church of England including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Opinion on where the cathedral actually stands though is divided with the latest reports it has provided the City of London Corporation a dossier complaining of graffiti, soiling of the grounds of the cathedral and alcohol-fuelled noise levels. The statement provided also noted that more than half of the school parties originally scheduled to visit the building had been cancelled owing to safety concerns. The cathedral is believed to be frustrated that attention appears to be focusing more on the camp itself than the message it hopes to deliver and it’s officials have said that it has proposed other ways by which the protestors could continue their demonstration and added that it would consider providing a similar witness statement backing up the cause of the camp if requested. In the meantime the cathedral and it's surroundings remain a constant draw to visitors to the city, those who work locally who along with the protestors form a part of the tapestry of life in St Paul's Churchyard.

Quite where all the changes of direction with officials of the cathedral lead is a little confusing but each day that passes brings us all closer to the first major celebration of the church’s year, that being the anniversary of the birth of Christ. What would Jesus have made of the persistent irregularities of today’s financial system and the manner by which it remains unchecked. Christ even as a young boy raised questions with the elders at the synagogue. If believers are to follow his example, should searching enquiries not be made of the state of society today? On the matter of the apparent impasse in the City during this season of Advent, the words of the written message on one of the original signs of the camp are sure to echo continuously amongst attentive consciences while the elements of this real life story play out in the arena where those who seek to pray and those who come for profit go about their daily schedules,  “ What would Jesus do? "

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