Christian Comments, June 2017

We live in interesting times’, currently as a statement, seems a rather matter-of-fact and weak declaration to make. The Chinese curse – ‘may you live in interesting times’ after the events of the last couple of months and years seems rather like a ghastly threat.
At this juncture, I would like to point out that no-one is able to actually attribute this curse to anyone or anything remotely Chinese.
But do we imagine for one single minute we are the only people in history to have been challenged by the events going on around them? Of course not. We all know that history is littered with events that could be defined as abominable, unjust and dreadful. Whilst describing our current situation as interesting might seem a little glib, the problems we now currently face – after the horrors of Manchester and London Bridge, and in the last week the Grenfell Tower block disaster – rightly demand a stronger adjective than ‘interesting’. But it should also be screaming out to all of us – and especially the leaders of this country – that we need to think very carefully, seriously and intelligently about how we respond.
Do we respond with force, suspicion and the exercising of power, or with love? It’s a simple question to a complex and fraught situation I admit, but it is a simple question. The outcomes of either response will be very different.
For all the horror we have seen lately, we have also seen many amazing examples of the sharing of resources, the seeking of the wellbeing of those affected, of caring, of the greater good; brilliant examples of generosity, kindness and warmth. For every act of hate or stupidity we have seen exemplary examples of the human desire to love.
The intelligent response to the problems we face is to resist the exercising of haughty or ignorant political and physical control, and resist any leader who simply wants power – a leader should find power a curse. We should we wary of social traditions that strangle mobility and aspiration; we should embrace and empower everyone, encouraging them to succeed to the exclusion of social barriers. Everyone must be invited along for the ride, everyone must be seen as a child of God, no one should be a footstool for the powerful to place their thrones upon. All of us must be a stakeholder. Now that to me sounds like Heaven!
We live in interesting times. Jesus our Lord lived in interesting times. Hate and distrust and ignorance killed him. But Jesus loved those who persecuted him, hated him, destroyed him. We also know that he, and love, triumphed. As much as humanity is seemingly wired to destroy, we are also wired to love. Be wary of those who would tell you the way forward is to hate and persecute, because in the end it will destroy you too. Rather love, love and be free of all the bile that would turn this world to ash.

Peace and Love, Peace and Love everybody.