Monday, April 17, 2006

Where is the victory?

One of the first sermons I wrote, more than 25 years ago about this time of year, was about victory - a popular theme at this time of year, in sacred and secular. And we were brought back to victory on Good Friday. But the world looks different to a grumpy old man from how it appeared to a naive young preacher who thought he could change the world starting with the church.

Grumpy old men think that not only has the world not been improved, it has got worse in so many ways. And we let it happen. What losses did we snatch from the jaws of victory? What happened to peace and love and redistribution?

The crime figures are not the problem. Any apparent increase in them can be explained by better reporting and collection. But the large picture looks no better. Born-again Christians in power still seem unbelievably to pursue the same old divisive unfair paths. The Church's voice is unheeded.

Perhaps we don't understand victory. Has it happened? Or does it happen every day in small acts of love and kindness against the backdrop of large-scale, appalling oppression, greed and exploitation? I need to see these small victories and understand them.
The examples look so trivial in comparison.

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