Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hope for all

Today, we celebrate the Presentation of Christ in the temple in some calendars the final day of Christmas as a season.  I am not sure that anyone has really paid attention but since Epiphany all the readings have reflected the outward movement of the Christian faith, starting with the presentation of the Magi and today SImeon's far reaching prophesy (Lk. 2. 30-32).  All to often in the social environment of today Christians are forced to clam up and not speak for fear of ridicule and being shut down. Yet throughout this Epiphany season we have been encouraged by the hope that the Gospel brings to all people not just the chosen few.

What has happened to the Christian faith and those of us who proclaim or rather live the Christian life, such that we have become tarred with a brush of unwholesomeness?  We can perhaps point fingers at distant ancestors of the faith and suggest that the super-secessionist  ideas of the Christian believers becoming the chosen people and replacing the older Judaic faith are to blame.  Or maybe it is how the Christian faith believers utilised the economic power of their countries to become almost militaristic in mission forcing unwanted beliefs onto others.  It seems no matter what the cause it is always the Christian faith that appears now to stand down and take second, third or even last place in its influence within our society today.  It often appears as if the Christian faith and all those who are part of the religious structures are to blame for most of the ills in life as a result the genuine Christian voice is marginalised and  / or unwanted within the discourse of the era.

In a way we are ourselves to blame as we have allowed our own authority structures to become power structures that are envied and thus open to attack.  Our hope that Simeon speaks of  being a 'light that will bring revelation to the Gentiles' is based on weakness not power and authority.  All those who are encouraged to speak out in society are perceived to be weak and marginalised (LGBT community, Women, Muslims and other religious inc. atheism, etc).  It is no wonder that those that are perceived to have authority are prevented from putting across their view.  Everyone knows their view, so why should we need to hear it, it is after all the predominate view.  In any case those proclaiming it are often hypocritical rather than genuine.  This is depressing to hear but then truth often is until we can find the hope in the message of the Gospel.

The gossamer wing of hope is difficult to catch

Christ is prophesied by Simeon to be the light to the Gentiles.  We must presume that that light is one that is carried within our hearts so that we can faithfully proclaim God's presence within the society in which we live.  Unfortunately for us we have to rise to a greater proof than those around us as by the efforts of those in the past our lives have been thrust into the limelight of public criticism.  We have been given a message of redemption to proclaim through the very lives that we live.  We need to recognise that the hope that we proclaim is a hope that is lived out within our own interactions with all people.  It is we who must set the highest example of hope in the lives of our communities by accepting all peoples for the gifts that God gives to them irrespective of who they may be. We need to overcome our own tendencies, tendencies of all those who are depressed, to seek out facts that fan our own uncertainties rather than those that grant us hope. In our own uncertainties we need to look for the sparks of hope in our communities and fan them into blazing fires that draw others into the flame of God's Spirit.  In this way we blaze as lights to the world and become a genuine beacon to our communities that despair.

No comments: