Keys to the city

Today I came home for lunch and happened to turn the TV on to see James Tomkins being interviewed following the Welcome Home Parade for the 2008 Olympic Team. Apparently he had been the lucky recipient of the "Key to the City of Sydney". During the course of the interview James was asked the logical question - "So what does the key open?" To which there was obviously no serious reply given. It seems a really bizarre thing, though that in 21st Century Australia we would continue to hold a ceremony such as this which stems from the Middle Ages, when passing dignatories and nobles were given tax-exempt passageway into cities when the mayor would give them the "key to the city". It would enable them to pass through the city walls freely. Sydney's never had city walls though (at least to the best of my knowledge - I'm prepared to stand corrected) so what's the point of giving out the keys to the city? I wonder whether this elaborate ceremony using terminology from a time long gone is much like our discussions on "holiness" (and theology in general) today? Are we using terms and language that was intended for a setting where it actually meant something to the original users but now it is completely devoid of its original meaning (take for example "propitiation")? Do we need to somehow recapture the meaning and then reword it in ways that are relevant to a 21st Century audience? I could be wrong, but is even the word "holiness" being used in ways that have made it so detached from the everyday lives of the average Christian that even its use has become the reserve of the theological elite? Is my view on this wrong? How do we address this issue? Can we even talk about "holiness" anymore? If so, how? I look forward to your responses. God Bless Adam P.S. Incidentally, Sadam Hussein was given the keys to the city of Detroit in 1980. If he were still alive today, do you think he would still have safe passageway through that city?


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