BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

© John Denney 25 October 2006


Heroes and Heroines


There are many powerful myths that inform and influence human beings.Here in England, we regard Robin Hood as a good man, who robbed the oppressive rich to give to the humble poor.And thereís Admiral Lord Nelson who saved us from Old Boney.And I guess Winston Churchill, the man who almost singlehandedly saved Britain from Nazi domination, has got mythical qualities now.Scotland has William Wallace, who fought impressively against the English, and turned up with a strange accent in the film Braveheart.Wales has Owen Glendower, the last Welsh Prince of Wales, who inspired his countrymen to rebel, unsuccessfully, against English rule.And Ireland has Brian Boru, who fought against the pagan Vikings to make Ireland a Christian country.I was recently in France, and I saw the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake at the behest of the English, against whom she had fought valiantly and well.National heroes and heroines all.


It seems we need heroes Ė long-term ones like Iíve mentioned, and short-term ones like sportsmen[1] and actors.The trouble is, when you look deeply into the truth behind the legends, all too often you find that the heroes are just flawed human beings like me and you.The writer of Psalm 146 understood this in eternal terms when he said Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save[2].

[1] And sportswomen.But I donít think Iím allowed to say ďactressĒ nowadays.

[2] Psalm 146:3 NIV