by Scott Anderson
And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” –Luke 18:7-8
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. –Mahatma Gandhi
I want to thank all of you who responded in some way to the space for reflection and response in worship on October 20th. For those of you who were not there, we were reflecting on the invitation of the parable of the persistent widow at the beginning of Luke 18.
We encountered the gospel’s invitation to a kind of hope that keeps us engaged in the life of the world, even when our contribution seems to make little difference. We encountered in the text a God of justice, peace, and love, who, like the persistent widow, keeps knocking at the doors of our hearts, so that we might be the change we wish to see in the world.
Maggie captures the spirit of this particularly Christian understanding of hope in her October 30th blog from Korea, citing the insight of Michael Kinnamon in a lecture to theological students there: “Hope,” he said, “is grounded in faith that God will unfold a new way as we attend and care for each other. Optimism, on the other hand, is centered in our own efforts and leaves no room for the Spirit.”
I was also grateful for the responses of others of you who critiqued the use of worship for an exercise of reflection and commitment that seemed to veer so close to the world of politics. It is an important question that I continue to seek to understand, and it is certainly a challenge for our churches to recognize the practical, real-world implications of our faith, while not descending into the partisan divides that are such a challenge to the ways of the One who is Peace.
Here are the questions that were before us on October 20th:
Having read the insightful responses to these questions from so many of you, I am struck by two things. First, that none of us are alone in our concerns. And second, that we enjoy some rich diversity of opinion.
We were troubled by different things. We had a wide range of opinions on the root causes, which reached across political views: the intransigence of leaders, lack of communication, lack of respect, the misuse of money, the income gap between rich and
One unifying theme I saw was in the commitments that you made. Many of you committed to learning more in some fashion or other. Some of you feel called to take action on a national level or on a political level, others to get more involved locally. But again and again, we start in an awareness that we have much to learn.
So, what is next for you? And, what is next for us as a people of St. Andrew?
Thank you to all of you for your questions, your commitments, your wisdom, your engagement, and your constant example of faith alive in and for the sake of the world. You are an inspiration to me personally, and an affirmation of my faith in a God alive in the world. I am grateful to be a part of you.
Grace & Peace,
Chuck Sigars is currently an elder at St. Andrew and a newspaper columnist and author.