Without doubt, to have a faith focused on Christ, which fights in earnest and functions in love, is really something, especially in our society today. Our current culture is concerned with the visible and the obtainable, not with the unseen and the impossible. The quality of life, too often, is measured in terms of material ownership, rather than spiritual fellowship. We find ourselves, for what men deem our ‘social good’, being nationalized and computerized, centralized and mechanized, until we feel thoroughly de-personalized.
The ‘pigeon-hole syndrome’ engulfs us. We are categorized as workers or capitalists, students or commuters, ratepayers or senior citizens, delinquents or tycoons. We are coloured or white, underprivileged or upper class, skilled or unskilled, elitist or rank and file. We seem to be anything and everything but what we are, namely human beings, loved of our Maker, who longs to save us from sin and transform us into His likeness.
Mass production has led to standardization; and mass communication to a kind of indoctrination that blunts our personal awareness and destroys creative initiative. In seeking to establish an advanced civilization, we produce the most stereotyped persons of all time. Socialization, we are told is the acme of compassion. Our health and our wealth, ‘they’ say, our education and medication, are all ‘their’ concern, but ironically liberation from the ‘selfish few’ leads to manipulation by the ‘self-styled’ few, and a worse oppression by the selfish many!
Organizations, be they governments, parties, companies or trade unions are all the same in this respect. They have no soul. They rise and fall but cannot feel. They have machinery but not mercy. Sometimes they will cater but, being ‘things’ and only ‘things’, they cannot care.
The fact to be faced is that the sick and disabled need more than a ‘prescription’; in fact they need ‘redemption’. The elderly need more than their pension, they need compassion; and young folk need more than an occupation, they need a vocation. Just as a family requires, not an administrator but a father, not just a housekeeper but a mother, so the masses need not so much, party leaders, civil servants, labour bosses or company directors but people who are truly their shepherds.
When our Lord was here and traversed the land of Palestine, His people did not lack controls. There was the Emperor at Rome and his tetrarchs in the provinces. Religiously, there were priests and Pharisees, lawyers and Scribes; and locally, the governors and magistrates maintained the social order, with sometimes a ferocious zeal. But as He looked on the multitudes and wept over His holy city, He viewed them through His tears, ‘As sheep without a shepherd’. One day He will administer the world in righteousness as Judge of the nations and King of the earth but when He came to Bethlehem, He came to save. All who came before Him were thieves and robbers and hirelings but He came as the Good Shepherd to give His life for the sheep. Thus He loved them, taught them, fed them, mourned over them, gave Himself for them and would have imparted His life to them. How often He sought to gather them but for the most part they spurned Him It broke His heart yet He loved them still.
Extract from ‘The Rock and the Sand’, p. 70, 1990 Chapter Two, G. T. Bull. Used with permission.