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Another Year! Will it be business as usual?

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WELL THE resolutions for 2019 have been made with many resolving to do a multiplicity of things. It is something that we feel we ought to do. But where is the plan, for often little happens except a hope that resolutions will be fulfilled, perhaps by the Almighty.

But we will only get from the new year what we put into it. We were born with a mind and tools with which to work. It isn’t as easy as that, however, for environment, circumstances, class, and opportunity can be intervening factors.
Quite often, we sit back and think that all is lost and there is little hope. We often judge ourselves by what we think is the life of the ‘Joneses’, but they also have their challenges and might not be what we think they are. In any event let us remember those who have been able to climb out of what appeared to be hopeless and desperate situations.

Some of us, on the other hand, as Bob Marley says, think “Great God will come from the skies, take away everything, and make everybody feel high.” But, he warns, “if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth”. In the days of slavery some missionaries under planter influence, sought to convince the slaves that full freedom will only come in the afterlife, so they should accept their earthly lot and await heavenly reward that will follow.
Few today are prepared to await heavenly rewards, but yet feel that “Great God will come… and make everybody feel high.”

But can we divorce ourselves from the reality around us? We have challenges here, so should we not fight? Should we not make demands on those who by their actions seem to feel they have an unquestioned divine right? As we look ahead into 2019 there is nothing to suggest that things are going to be transformed in any meaningful way. If anything, the challenges are likely be more and equally more severe. Is the answer to hope for heavenly intervention while demeaning ourselves to those who lay claim to divine right?

Part of the problem and therefore solution, lie with those who in our churches profess to administer the word of the Lord. To what extent are they genuinely concerned about the plight of those to whom they minister? One has, at times, to ask! Should they not reinforce the responsibility their congregation has to manage their earthly affairs? Sermons have to be more than pies in the sky. They must start with the living realities and define and analyse them and urge the use of the tools we have to exercise what measure of control we are able to. Having a soup kitchen or taking up a special collection for the needy are in the scheme of things minor matters, even though of great importance to those in need . But who is the church?

Should that body, no matter how defined, not be mobilising its resources to ensure that the people it serves exercise some control over their daily affairs, not waiting on manna to fall from above.

Sermons are often too long and repetitious, lost in biblical jargons and quotations, with little effort to translate these into our daily lives and thus more meaningful.

The congregation is a central part of the church which has to be told to realise that its hands were made strong “by the hand of the almighty”, since, often they “just stand aside and look” and “Some say it’s just a part of it; we’ve got to fulfil the Book.” The question is do we understand the book and “how do we fulfil” it?

● Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian

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