Hi-bear-nate: Look, See, Pray

1st September… autumn has begun! Out in the wild, the bears are stuffing themselves with all the food they can devour in preparation for hibernation. Four months of sleeping, metabolism turned down low, in the expectation of cold harsh conditions.

It’s possible that something similar happens with teenagers (we’ll see how many students remember to turn up to school next Monday).

Perhaps with the frightening rises in energy prices more of us may try hibernation!

Animals still live in rhythm with changing seasons. Some behaviour is changing in response to climate change. Other species are threatened with extinction. It seems inescapable that human activity is responsible for much of the looming change. We extract the resources of our world, and use them for both good and frivolous invention. We call it “progress” and “growth” but it seems unsustainable.

One of our national politicians was reported as saying “greed is good” because it “drives our economy.” Such driven growth depends on unfairness; and the “sense of dissatisfaction” with our lot motivates our desire to acquire more treasures and trinkets. The planet is paying the price.

Hibernation is a survival tactic. Perhaps we could persuade the self-styled “movers and shakers” (the greedy elite, the exploiters of the poor, power-hungry politicians…) to stop stuffing themselves and take four months off? While they sleep, we could make some adjustments.

Of course it isn’t that simple. But the first step towards justice and fairness is recognising the need.

I was recently asked about Christians who engage in politics and/or criticise the establishment. Is it our business? Shouldn’t we do spiritual things and let the world’s system carry on unchallenged?

Interesting question.

Here’s an answer: have you read the prophet Amos? Or the challenges brought by Jeremiah? What do you make of the “Sermon on the Mount” where Jesus sets out formidable obstacles to greed and injustice? Jesus spelled out a manifesto that is political, financial, AND theological in Luke 4:

Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.”

That is the Christian manifesto- to continue doing what Jesus instructed us to do. It affects politics, economics, ethics, and justice: and it WILL upset those whose greed and privilege approve of system where the smallest 1% own more than the other 99% put together.

Perhaps it’s time for the bear to wake up. If we as Christians have become chubby-contented-teddies we have to stir ourselves out of hibernation… and say loud and clear that LOVE, MERCY and JUSTICE should be the foundation of our structures. Even if people who love greed tell us to shut up. I quite like the idea of unbearable Christians making a difference. What do you think?


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