Reflection #30: Social Transformation’s possible, its just going to cost us

Reading: The Book of Acts 8-9

What sort of Love would prompt you to sacrifice your life?

The Early Followers of the Way were willing to die for an idea, the idea, that the Divine dream was becoming reality in this world, that She had sent Her Son to enter into the messiness of our human existence, that that had changed something.

And so they cared for the sick, they provided for the poor, they looked out for and included the outcasts and the vulnerable, and they did it all in the name of their new King, Jesus. And when they were met with violence and abuse, when the lap dogs of the Empire tried to crush them, they refused to pick up the sword. They loved their enemies, and acknowledged the humanity of their persecutors. Because, this was the Way of their King, and so it was the Way of their Kingdom.

But, it was far from perfect. When Saul met Jesus, and turned from his path of violence and control, the Followers didn’t accept him, not at first any way. I imagine forgiving this enemy from a distance was one thing, while on the other hand welcoming him into the whanau as a brother, would not have been an easy task. Than of course there was the whole Ananias and Sapphira disaster, and as the story of this movement goes on, we see the challenges the movement has holding fast to the Way, against the ever present presence and conflicting values of the Empire.

Community is not perfect. It never will be, in fact it can’t be. I mean, what is perfection anyway? When you figure it out, let me know.

I don’t believe that some sort of utopian society is necessarily possible, but i also don’t believe we should wait around until the end of time before we start dreaming  of something different. I dont believe that poverty is necessary, i don’t believe that homelessness cannot be eradicated, i don’t believe that children have to be taken from their families, or that families have to be so unwell, that it is deemed necessary to do so.

This world, whats happening in it, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Jesus showed us that. He reminded us of our own humanity, our own capacity to Love, to Serve, to be loved.

The way we do community isn’t work. Just grab yourself some headlines and have a read, people are hurting, whanau are suffering, what we are seeing is the consequences of has held up individualism and consumerism as its highest ideals.

I totally believe that the sort of societal transformation we hope for is possible, i don’t believe we have to wait for the world to end before it comes, but i also believe that to realize that Dream, something radical, and transformational will have to take place in the way we be community.

And that if we want it, it will cost us.

The Early Followers gave their lives, we are being asked to do the same. To die to ourselves, to give up the privilege we’ve been afforded by being born into the society and country we have. To release ourselves from our expectation of wealth and stability, and to give up our dreams of comfort and security for the Dream, the only Dream that really matters.

Come, let us Dream with the Divine.

Let us live in, and out of Love. Let us join Her as She recreates this world.

A.J. Hendry

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