Rulers Rule

March 15, 2024

At the Thrift store I found a CD of Golden Oldies sung by Tony Bennett. His signature and most popular song was, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”. One of his lesser-known songs is on the CD, “If I Ruled the World”. As we might expect, if he did rule, he would be a benevolent dictator and make all kinds of good things happen for everyone and not just his friends and family: “Everyday would be the first day of Spring. Every heart would have a song to sing. Every person would be free and every voice would be heard. My world would be a beautiful place, with a smile on every face. Every head held up high, sunshine in every sky. My world would wear a smile.”

Wow, it would be a wonderful world! We recognize these sentiments as wishful thinking, romantic fiction, dreams. So far in human history, no ruler has ever acted in such a happy, loving way. Julius Caesar ruled the Western world of his time. He had to conquer and subdue many other nations and use fear and intimidation of his armies to be able to keep on ruling them. (Palestine in the time of Jesus). Then one day he heard the blind beggar say. “Beware the Ides (the middle) of March.” He was assassinated by one of his best soldier friends. The Rulers in Egypt controlled their world and built their pyramids with slave labor. Kings, Emperors, Tsars, Rulers get their power by war and killing and keep their power by fear and terror. (C’mon Jim Woodring, it’s a pop song, enjoy it!)

Unfortunately, I see deeper meaning in the song. If Tony wants to build a better world, he would need unlimited powers to do it. He would have to be more than a King or Emperor, he would have to be God. He was playing a game we often play, “If I were God, I would…..” We know it ain’t a gonna happen, but we dream dreams anyway.

However. if the God of the Bible becomes our role model, we may have to change our tune. The ELOHIM of the Old Testament killed off every living person and thing of creation, except for Noah, family, and boat. (Then Noah got drunk). For the Hebrews to escape from their slavery in Egypt, many innocent Egyptian children got zapped when the Angel of Death came over. In the Battle of Jerico, once the walls came down, God instructed His people to eliminate every living thing in town. (Sounds like Gaza today).

In the New Testament, Jesus as King of all Creation and Saviour, brought in the new Kingdom by suffering and crucifixion. The Christian Church grew by martyrs and persecution. OK, OK, I’ve gone to preaching. “Tell us some good news”, Mr. Jim. Tony Bennett sings another song, “Rags to Riches”. In it, the man pleads with the woman, “If only you would say you love me; if only you say you care, I’d be a millionaire.” Now there’s a testimony to the ruling power of love, and more important to the power of a woman’s love. So, if I ruled the world, love would grow.

Long's Pac-Perks