Sunday, September 20, 2009

Protests, Petitions and the Need for Good Government

I'm beginning to see something very interesting in the current political climate. It's safe to say that it's a very different world at the Legislature than what it's been for the past 2 years.  The atmosphere is completely different than what I expected.  I assumed the rhetoric would die down and things would 'simmer' rather than boil.  I was very wrong....

The Government has been forced to make some difficult and extremely unpopular decisions due to the current economic situation.  The Opposition has no end of material for Question Period, the ensuing media scrums and the radio talk shows.  I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing.  In fact, if you can see past the bluster, desk thumping and heckling (all part of our political system....) this may well be the best thing that can happen in our province.

A strong and effective opposition is the key to good government.  While it's true that the Government has a majority and will likely vote according to policy and platform, the awareness of unhappy and dissatisfied voters will undoubtedly give them cause for sober reflection, especially if the Opposition is successful in providing effective resistance on key initiatives. 

 During the election, we prayed that God would give us leaders of His choosing who would provide good and effective government for us.  While the government's decisions have been somewhat surprising and unexpected, I'm starting to see that God is using a host of circumstances to provide exactly what we asked for.  We need a strong Opposition who will ensure that the effect of Government decisions and actions is in the public eye. 

In the midst of this new political atmosphere, we have a responsibility before God for those who have been elected to lead.  It would be easy to be caught up in the anger that is being directed at the government, but it is neither becoming nor fruitful. Disagree if you choose, but understand that our greatest effectiveness comes as we make petitions rather than signing them.  

The fact is that our leaders on both sides of the Legislature need someone praying for them and encouraging them NOW more than ever.  We need to rise to the occasion as never before to stand in the gap on behalf of those making the most significant decisions in our province in a generation.  Call your MLA and tell him/her that you are praying for them.  I promise you, they will be grateful!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Roll Away The Stone...

Picture this for a moment.  Someone you love dies unexpectedly.  Your best friend shows up 4 days later having missed final goodbye's and the funeral.  You take him to the grave side where he begins to weep and then...  He says .... 'Dig him up'

A bit taken aback, you turn and say 'Seriously?  You know he's been dead for 4 days and it's not going to be pretty...'

'Dig him up!' your Friend replies, 'I want to show you something...'

If you didn't know that it really happened with Jesus, you would be just as likely to be repulsed at the brash and crude request.  Most of us would have walked away in shock and disgust.

I've been thinking about the story of Lazarus recently and I'm seeing something that I've never seen before.  I am seeing Lazarus as a metaphor.  Lazarus represents something that is common to all of us.  He represents the disappointment of his sisters.  They weren't disappointed in Lazarus, but in Jesus, in his passing and in his lost future.  Lazarus represents embarassment.  How could they face their friends who all knew that they had expected Jesus to help only to experience something different. They believed, but  Jesus was absent when they needed him most.  Lazarus could even represent their despair.  It's reasonable to assume that since they were both unmarried that the three of them lived together and Lazarus was taking responsiblity to care for his sisters.  Now suddenly and unexpectedly, their future was at stake as well.

What do you do with your disappointments, embarassments and fear?  Mary and Martha wrapped theirs up in grave clothes and spices, placed them in a tomb and rolled a large stone in front of it.  I think we do the same...  We take our disappointments, despair, pain and embarassments and hide them deep inside a cave somewhere in the recesses of our lives, cover them over with a rock and move on with our lives desperately hoping that we can leave them behind.

Every so often, on His timetable rather than ours, Jesus shows up at the places where we've buried our 'stuff' and asks us to roll away the stone.  I think He comes often and with intent because what's buried behind the stone holds incredible potential and possibility.  God sees value in what we've buried behind the rock and He wants to redeem it in our lives.  That can only happen when we respond in trust and obedience.  Rolling the stone away is the first step in experiencing God's work in our lives. 

Stop and listen today.  Perhaps Jesus is whispering 'Roll away the stone...'