2017 12 31 The Time to Follow is Now
The reading in Ecclesiastes on time is one of the favourites for funerals and celebrations of life. It reflects the reality that life happens with its ups and downs, and it obscures the reality that most events and actions are the result of choices that people make.
Many African women work from dawn to dusk on fetching water, growing food, preparing meals, looking after children, and taking care of clothes while the men are either working in mines, on plantations, or visiting with other men as the result of choices made by their communities and by the people in control of their countries. Almost every action named in our reading is the result of choices that were made.
The sexual harassment of women has gone on for centuries as the result of choices made by the men who controlled society and by the difficulty most women faced in the consequences that resulted from resisting that harassment. In 2017, many women, mostly those in privileged positions, made great strides in exposing that harassment and initiating consequences for some of the men involved.
But the abuse of power is still an issue for many women and men who still experience sexual and non-sexual abuse.
Jesus showed us, called us, to a way in which power is only to be used for, not over other people, a concept hard for his followers to understand, and still hard.
I believe now is the time for all people who claim to be followers of Jesus to make the use and abuse of power an important issue, to choose to follow Jesus in using power for, not over other people. Instability and unpredictability stalk every nation and every community now, and it is in such times that those who have a clear goal and are well-organized are the most able to influence the outcomes of that stability.
Harari, in his latest book, Homo Deus, described how the Bolsheviks with about 23,000 committed and well-organized members, successfully overcame a disorganized class of several million people, and how the moderate communists of Romania were able to steal the revolution in Romania from a much larger group of people who brought down the Ceausescu dictatorship, stealing most of the assets of Romania in the process.
While followers of Jesus are now a minority in Canada, if we can distinguish ourselves from the Christians who are only believers rather than followers, and clearly adopt goals and partnerships with non-followers who seek the same goals, we can strongly influence what our country and the rest of the world will become.
2018 is the year ahead of us where we can make a difference. Now is the time to choose to act as followers of Jesus. May God help us and guide our choices. Amen.