Hadrian thinks he wants to see God. But he cannot conceive of God as anything but the greatest of idols - something else in the world with power over us.
The idea that God must remove the wicked from his sight means that he is prepared to overlook all our sins. This is mercy.
We need perspective, communication and a kind of humility in the face of a complex reality which will always somehow escape our grasp.
What kind of permissions do the leaders of a meritocratic welfare state seek from us before they act?
The struggle for democracy offers us a parallel to the struggle for decent welfare reform. Without this struggle political systems tend to autocracy and elitism.
In the Jewish and Christian tradition we are all too aware that we need God to stop short of the demands of strict justice and that mercy must subdue God's proper wrath.