The leadership Jesus demonstrated refused to obey the games played in positions of power. We live in a world where the powerful get to define the course whether others agree or not. Those who call the powerful to reform are often silenced in one way or another. Keeping people under control and in oppression fits a purpose for those who hold power. What happens when one refuses to do as power wishes? A quick look at Jesus gives us an idea of how much living with integrity can ultimately cost. Yet, all over our world we see people who for political or religious reasons rebel against the stranglehold the powerful have on their lives. The Spirit working in people can be suppressed for a time but ultimately it rises again.
Teach me, O Lord, to understand what it really means to follow you.
How do I collaborate with “power”? How do I support those who have the courage to “speak the truth in love”?
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,”Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.
Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.
Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.
The essence of government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
The people who oppose your ideas are inevitably those who represent the established order that your ideas will upset.
Anthony J. D’Angelo