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Viewpoint from Tony Mallion 27/09/2019

TONY MALLION 10-2017 stephen gTony Mallion
Cliff Park Community Church

 

as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

 

A recent headline grabbing story told of the Mansfield couple who thanked their cat for making them lottery millionaires.  Having forgotten to get pet food a last minute dash to a garage by the husband led to buying what proved to be a winning scratch card.  That’s the sort of tale which might have prompted some to idly dream about what they’d do if suddenly gaining such vast wealth
 
dove leftAn example of this is Tevye the milkman in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ singing ‘If I were a Rich Man’ speculating how his life would be transformed.  The musical tells of the impoverished milkman, his family and friends in a Russian village at the turn of the last century where Jews are persecuted and ultimately expelled.  A fictional story based on true events which sadly seem just as real today

 
It may be fiction but Tevye’s song is a real prayer questioning why God can’t make him wealthy and how he would repay this fortune, including spending more time in worship and service to God.  That may seem like bargaining but what always strikes me is the relationship expressed between the milkman and his maker.  He is able to talk and reason with God in such an open and honest way, sharing his problems and needs.  Yet he does so with respect, not demands
 
Dove rightIt can be easy to run away with the idea that God is remote and unapproachable yet the Bible so often gives examples of people who come to their heavenly Father with their genuine fears, despair, even anger.  They tell it like it is.  The Psalmist David, fleeing from the wrath of King Saul and hiding in a cave says: “I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy.   I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles.  When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn”.  To the troubled prophet Isaiah God gives the encouraging response “Come let us reason together”

Tevye talks it over with God.  He knows all too well that wealth is not the answer but he finds strength for the immense challenges and struggles that life will throw up.  We too can approach a loving God and father in this way.  The outcome is unlikely to produce a hit song but it could provide answers 

 
TEVYE johan persson


A revival of Fiddler on the Rood directed by Trevor Nunn continues its run at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End until November 2nd. Andy Nyman plays Tevye in this hit production, a role which made a star of Topol when it first opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1967

photo courtesy of Johan Persson

 

 

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