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Alphabet Bre akd own

A was very proud of its role at the head of the Alphabet. It obviously meant that it was better than all the other letters and had an obvious status as their leader. A began to feel very superior to the other letters, and began to associate with them less and less. It particularly didn’t like Z, which it felt was a useless letter, and very menial down at the far end of the alphabet. It eventually culminated in Z being thrown out. Some letters didn’t like this very much. OO was particularly distressed, as it could no longer be used in conjunction with Z (for that word which the latter is used at the beginning, but which I can’t say if Z doesn’t exist anymore). T reassured OO that it would always be there next to them, but this didn’t reassure OO, who felt they involved very different words. OO continued to mourn the loss of Z. A also felt disturbed at being at the end of words, which it felt was beneath its’ standing. The word for an animal which Z began and ended in A was a particular sore point. Now Z was no longer there, A summarily moved itself to the beginning of the word, creating Aebr, which no one knew how to pronounce properly. E, B and R didn’t like this, removing themselves from the word, leading to the complete collapse of the name, and meaning that people now had to say ‘look, there’s a black and white striped horse-like animal’, which takes rather longer to say than ‘look, there’s a zebra’. All this unsettled the other letters. Q, V, X and J felt especially threatened, as they were also rarely used letters. In order to prevent themselves from being expelled from the Alphabet, they banded together, and would not talk to any of the other letters, except U. Q and U were very close, and the four letters felt they could trust it. This meant some rather strange words began to exist, as U had to take its place either side of any of the four: adujust; euxuist; euxutensiuvue. All of which were extremely difficult to say. Y also began to feel vulnerable; it was now at the end of the alphabet, and, although more common than Z, was not one of the regularly used letters, and began to ponder what action it should take to safeguard its’ existence. N and O began to ponder how to remedy the situation; O, as I’ve said, particularly missed Z, and N, with its’ similarity to M, felt some sympathy with those other letters who had been threatened.


What of K in all this? Well, I’m sorry to say that K had never had a very nice time in the alphabet. It was often used as a silent letter, so there were sly digs about that, a feeling that it wasn’t very necessary, and jokes about the similarity of K to R. Most of these were presented in a seemingly humorous way, so that the other letters would say ‘only joking’ if K complained. They would object that K hadn’t got a sense of humour. In reality, this wasn’t the point; K had a sense of humour, but not for biased statements that paraded themselves as funny, to avoid the other letters examining their motives or unconscious bias. K had always been miserable in the alphabet, and the current unrest in the other letters hadn’t changed that much.


However, it did get some of the other letters thinking about their behaviour, and some of them realised that they had been bullying K, rather than teasing in a kind way. N pointed out how vital K was as a silent letter: now and know are very different words and, without K, no one would ever know anything. E, B and R missed being together in that word for a black and white striped horse like creature, and wanted to put it back again. That meant reinstating Z and bringing A to a truer vision of its’ place in the Alphabet. O talked to U about persuading Q, X, V and J that they were safe, and Y often sent messages to them via U, assuring them of its’ support. In the end, many of the letters saw that either they sorted this out, or the whole Alphabet would fall apart. Many realised that this meant apologising to K, and changing their behaviour towards it. U and B were crucial in all this; U liaised with Q, X, V and J, while B talked to A, who in truth was finding its’ new position rather lonelier than it had anticipated. It missed the camaraderie that had existed amongst most of the letters, as they worked together to make words – and quite saw that if it continued on its’ present path, it would either make words consisting only of A, or no words would contin A t ll [contain A at all – it began to see words without itself in them]. Eventually, all the letters came back together again: the alphabet now consisted of A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z. Words could be made as normal, and the language became usable and understandable again. Moreover, many of the letters began to examine their behaviour towards K, and its’ life in the Alphabet became much happier. Each letter had its’ own status, and each had its’ own use, and they all contributed to make words that helped people communicate with each other. None was better or worse than all the others.


Thankfully, the likelihood of the Alphabet breaking down like this is highly unlikely (except in the typing of this blog, where for some reason, they won’t go where I intend them. It’s not normally as bad as this …). What can be true, and rather sadder, is that this kind of breakdown does happen, to a greater or lesser extent, among humans; and even amongst the Church, which is the Body of Christ. I’m not talking so much about denominational differences here, although I think it always works better when different denominations work closely together; neither have I any particular church in mind. But it is true that relationships between Christians can break down for all sorts of reasons, although we are all loved by God, and are called together as a Community of Love. Yes, I know it’s not as easy as it sounds, and there are times when it is extremely hard. Yet, nevertheless, we are the Body of Christ, and a breakdown amongst that Body could have disastrous consequences, just as a breakdown of relationships amongst the Alphabet would have. Unhelpfully, I don’t have any advice, which in any case may not suit specific circumstances. Still, we are the Body of Christ, in all our differences and disagreements.


As we enter this crucial period of Lent, maybe we could remember that. In approaching Holy Week, there is a lot that we can follow as part of our own individual relationships with God; that is good and important. But Holy Week is also something the Church as a whole celebrates, however differently; it is something that we walk through together, as the Body of Christ, not just as a number of individual Christians. How much that affects how you celebrate it may depend on your own circumstances; but it is an underlying attitude that may well affect not only our own individual relationships with God, but also our communal one; which could be more vital than we think.

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