CHANGING TIMES? MAYBE NOT.

More and more the Christian underpinning of our society seems under attack. Britain was renowned for its liberal Christian faith. People mattered. Social welfare, the NHS, state education, a paternal approach to those in need globally, all have been a matter of pride for a country which valued people. Now we have greedy bankers, politicians we don’t trust or believe, and a society where every change or development is measured in ┬ús.

The Christian ethic seems to be fast withering away. People like us are merely there to make up the numbers. There seems to be no alternative. Leaders in public life all look and sound alike. Where is faith?

At another time and in another place in a famous incident a young preacher disrupted a money market. He sent the tables flying and released the animals and birds captured for sacrifice. Somewhere else he told a story about a widow and her valued farthing, highlighting a bleak outlook for unscrupulous moneychangers and rapacious tax gatherers. At other times he talked about ordinary people and how their generosity of spirit was a different kind of wealth, even if they were Samaritans.

In his day there was a confusion of religious and secular authorities all of which had to be respected. Above all there was the law, religious rules which governed daily life and which were to be seen as sacrosanct. The keepers of those laws allowed the moneychangers’ tables and were immune from criticism. Woe betide he who challenged them.

We tell ourselves we have to learn from these stories but how often do we surround the real message with dogma and tradition? Our approach should be inclusive, open and questioning, looking for what we can learn, putting no barriers around it and looking at how we can use it in our daily life.

It is our remit to take Christian faith to challenge the philosophies of modern life in practical and pragmatic ways. Little things count, sometimes more than big ones. We may not be able to copy Jesus by turning over the tables of the moneychangers but we can learn from his example and take small incremental steps, driven by our faith.

First published as URC Voice in Stretton Focus, June 2015