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Day 4

But what happens next is what matters ...

Day 4

Thursday morning’s lectionary reading was from Ex 32. It’s that passage where the Lord sends Moses back down the mountain because while he’s been away his people have been corrupted: “How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live!” We see this dynamic repeated throughout our lives. As school children we remember the moment the teacher stepped out of the class for “just 5 minutes” before absolute chaos ensued. After rugby games we hear about what happened in the ruck or when the ref’s head was turned. And if you’ve read William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”, well that about sums it up …

The fact is that without some authority in our lives to keep us accountable it is very easy to go off the rails. Authority comes in many shapes and forms but I suspect most of us think in terms of being told what to do. One problem with that is when we cannot hear/see the authority figure it is a whole lot easier to do whatever we want. The bigger issue is that that kind of authority is very fragile. It relies on the authority figure telling us what to do and carries with it the threat of punishment: it is very top-down. I believe God’s authority operates very differently.

For one thing God is always with us; not just observing from above, but present both with us and within us. As St Paul reminds us, whatever we do we take Jesus with us into it. Therefore there is not a time when we are alone. That means God never steps outside the classroom and always knows what’s going on in the ruck.

How is that relevant to living below the line? Well, day 4 has come and gone. After day 5 there is no obligation upon me to empathise with 767 000 000 people by spending $2.85 per day on food. I can simply go back to life the way it was. So perhaps that’s the real challenge: not the five days but the reorientation to always remember the plight of the poor. That challenge means being more conscious of how I eat, how I spend the money God provides, and what I do to ease the poverty of others.

I invite you to take that challenge up.


To learn more about "live below the line" and to make a pledge to the team please go here: https://www.livebelowtheline.org.nz/fundraisers/stjohnstheologicalcollege 


A still from the 1963 film "Lord of the Flies" CREDIT:  ARTS/CD/KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Story Published: 16th of March - 2018

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