To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds. Matthew 11:16-19
Four old blokes were in the habit of meeting on the same park bench for a chat at the same time on the same morning every week. One day they found themselves sitting on the bench, side by side, staring into space in complete silence. Eventually the first old bloke slowly shook his head. "Oh dear," he said. "Oh dear." The second old bloke put his head in his hands. "Oh dear," he said. "Oh dear, oh dear." The third old bloke raised his hands and looked heavenwards. "Oh dear," he said. "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear." All of a sudden, the fourth old bloke jumped up and shook his fists. "If you three are just going to talk politics, I'm off!"
As a society at present, in our common political life, it seems in many ways that we don’t really know what we want. Like the children in the marketplaces, and those who responded to John the Baptist and Jesus, we don’t seem to be happy with anything, yet we don't know what it is that we do want, either. As time goes on, the strong temptation is to respond, "Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."
Resist the response of "Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear"! Don't give in to despair. Act! Do something, however small. Sign a petition. Write to your MP. Better still, talk to your MP. Support a group campaigning for social justice. Talk to other people about how you feel about the political climate. Listen to others. Smile. Be kind. Show respect and courtesy. Speak up against negativity, especially when it's directed against people who aren't best-placed to defend themselves. Pray. If you do nothing else, pray! Prayer isn't about changing God - it's about changing us and the world.
Gracious God, when the flame of our faith burns low; when we're tempted to despair, remind us that this is your world and that your love and justice will prevail. Take our small flame of faith and fan it into life. Empower us to work for our common good. Amen.
Written by Jennie Hurd, a Methodist Presbyter currently serving as District Chair of the Cymru Synod, and an SCM Friend.