Friday, 23 February 2018

Popularism

Still at the start of Lent I’ve been pondering the story which comes at its end, that of Pilate washing his hands as he lets the mob decide the fate of Jesus.  In doing so he abdicates his responsibility and no amount of washing can absolve him of the charge that in the end he abandoned any sense of conviction and chooses instead the popular vote.

Churchill’s dictum is often quoted that democracy is a bad system until you consider the alternatives. Yet the rise of ‘popularism’ over recent months and years has achieved some questionable outcomes.  Perhaps I’m thinking this way having been given a copy of Fire and Fury: Inside the White House as a gift last week.

Leadership is tough and democracy is flawed yet in the end one has to temper the other.

I’m not sure the message of Jesus has ever really got the popular vote.  Take this weekend’s lectionary reading all about ‘taking up a cross and following Jesus’.  It’s an invitation to a life of tough choices, to be made at some personal cost.  Could you ever imagine a poster outside a church saying; Living a Christ-like life could be the biggest struggle of your life – join us at 10.30 Sundays to find out more!’.

Perhaps a central message of Lent is that a truly human life, one that reflects the life of Jesus, should be one lived with conviction, and that despite the siren voices of hedonistic popularism, selfless-love really does display the best of us, even if it involves cross-carrying.

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