Thought for the Week 2 January 2011
Change and Hope
When the divine purpose makes itself present in the world of men and women, it would be surprising if it did not upset a few things.· God, who created all things made them to make themselves which would sometimes produce events which aligned with his loving purpose, but often times would not. The mixture of good and evil is what we see as we look around.
The coming of Christ was certain, therefore, to make a few waves.· Some people awaited the heralded Messiah with eager anticipation; few however could not have entertained some anxiety. In particular, John the Baptist announced the forthcoming appearance of one who would displace him and it is hard to think that he did not foresee his own eclipse with some reservations.
Maybe·it is merely human to suspect a degree of chagrin in his heart when his own vital role was to be superseded by the one before whom his part was to become less.· A successor may either diminish our work by outdoing all that we achieved or else trash it, disvalue it, undo our life’s work. The competitive and self assertive instincts in us combine to resist the newcomer. Of course it is not always so: some welcome the newcomer but even then motives are mixed. Some look for a change which may confer on them some advantage or bring to an end conditions whose failures they wish to be rid of.· All in all there seem to be more reasons for people to disagree and compete than·otherwise.
For John, so far as we can tell, the completion of his work was what mattered. He urged repentance but could see that his remedy was not all there was to say. Christ called for repentance too but completed it by a vision of a world made truly good. He knew that even this good would bring about its own resistance.· The kingdom of God is bound even violently to be opposed.
The changes·in our world seem often not to be about the great issues of purest good and damnable evil. The promises of change promised by new prophets gladden some hearts but in others bring only a wry grin. It would nevertheless be a shame not to praise the good and earnestly to seek
·those places where the light of God seems to shine. It would be a denial of what we profess if we did not live in hope. Together we may more fully embody the spirit of Christ than if we see only our own way. We were better not to look fearfully over our shoulders but·look at possibilities raised by others than ourselves.· St. John looks to someone else who will bring to fruition what he began; he knows that to be part of God’s purposes is more glorious than pretending to be all of them. And even Christ himself dies to his own purposes that God may complete what he began. How can we hope for more?
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