Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Boom to Bust
Every day I receive emails from advocacy groups, petitioning me for financial contributions or asking me to lend my voice to various causes. Governments and corporations are the targets and I am reminded that our current federal government was elected by the people. If my inbox is to be believed, the people are not overly happy with their elected representatives so either, the unhappy few whose petitions I receive were the ones voted for "someone else" or the ones who did vote for this government have become disillusioned.
Of course we know that this is the way with humanity, with leadership and loyalty; almost every leader eventually becomes unpopular. The fall from grace in any relationship happens when the honeymoon ends and the "beloved" is finally seen as human and fallible. In the political arena (as with the personal) the expectation may have been unrealistic to start with or the politician might just fall victim to their inability to please enough of the people enough of the time......
Back to Australian politics: I think about the last election and I know that mostly, this government was elected not for their policies and promises but for the fact that they were not the incumbents at the time, they were elected to be the saviours from a weak and fragmented Labour Party and it wasn't very sound reasoning. Our collective dislike of our previous leadership has led to a situation where the new, anticipated saviour is eroding public freedoms, human rights, education, technological progress and environmental protections.
Our political reality parallels in some ways with the events of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, summarised here:
"...the praise the people lavished on Jesus was not because they recognized Him as their Messiah. They welcomed Him out of their desire for a deliverer, someone who would lead them in a revolt against Rome. .... But when He failed in their expectations, when He refused to lead them in a massive revolt against the Roman occupiers, .....the crowds quickly turned on Him. Within just a few days, their Hosannas would change to cries of “Crucify Him!” Those who hailed Him as a hero would soon reject and abandon Him."
In both cases the people (rightly or wrongly) place an expectation on the saviour, in both cases they become bitter when their expectations go unmet. In the case of Australian politics there may not have been enough attention paid to what was actually being promised, in the case of Jesus' significance as a leader there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the promise.
As I reflect on the state of my country and on this pivotal week in the life of the church I am led to consider some questions, not just for my nation or my own life and spiritual journey but questions for all of humanity, individually and in our various collectives, at all times: What is it that we want saving from? Is that a realistic hope? Is that where the real danger lies? and where should we look for the salvation we need?