Editorial: 100 not out
Only a couple of months ago at Reform, we were celebrating our 50th anniversary. This month, it’s a rather more personal milestone: this is the 100th issue of the magazine I have produced as Editor.
On the one hand, realising that fact surprises me. It doesn’t seem anything like so many. Time flies when you’re having fun, and Reform is a wonderful calling. On the other hand, it’s kind of hard to remember ever having done anything else. I guess most things are getting harder to remember these days.
What does 100 mean? It’s the square of the sum of the first four whole numbers; and it’s the sum of the cubes of those same four numbers. I’m not sure that tells us much, but it’s pretty cool, I think.
In the Bible, 100 is the age Abraham was, we’re told, when his 90-year-old wife, Sarah, first gave birth. That makes me feel tired just writing it.
A hundred Philistine foreskins was the price King Saul demanded from David in exchange for the hand of his daughter. One hand equalling 100 foreskins is a kind of maths, biology and politics from a pretty different world to ours.
The prophet Elisha miraculously fed 100 men with 20 barley loaves, but the Gospels rather put that story in the shade.
And 100 is the number of sheep a shepherd might have, so that you’d assume he wouldn’t mind just one getting lost, but not a bit of it, if the shepherd is God and the sheep is you, Jesus says.
What do we learn from this? What does it tell us about the significance of 100? This: it’s quite a lot.
It’s an old age to be when starting a family; it’s a big pile of prepuces to accumulate to get your father-in-law onside; it’s a lot of people to feed with a handful of lunches; it’s a lot of sheep to risk for the sake of the one who wandered off.
Which may, perhaps, not be the most earth-shattering or enlightening conclusion to reach. But that’s the point, isn’t it? I have officially been doing this a long time, even in biblical terms, and so it’s only to be expected that I might finally have run out of things to say. Find out next month…
This article was published in the February 2023 edition of Reform