by Peter Davison
There can be no doubt that we live in dark and uncertain times.
Many of our neighbours to the south of us are fearful for their most cherished democratic institutions. Brexit proceedings are under way in England and neo-fascism seems to be on the rise, not only in France but elsewhere. Some of the ripple effects have touched us—most notably in the tragic shooting at the Grand Mosque in Québec City, but also in the daubing of mosques and synagogues in other places, and in the virus of fearmongering and xenophobia spread through various media.
Others laid the groundwork for this neo-fascism, using the more respectable term neoliberalism. But this term did not describe a more open, generous philosophy. It really disguised the removal of restraints from financial elites, who concentrated wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands, putting profit above all else, buying politicians and their votes and caring little for the economic and social consequences. Few were held accountable, and it was their victims (ordinary citizens and taxpayers) who paid for the costs of restoring the economy.
Many of these same people, having won election by claiming to be saviours of the dispossessed, are now seeking to dismantle all forms of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Journalists, and even judges, are being threatened.
It appears that all of us—if we want any kind of future for our children and grandchildren—are being called to stand up and be counted, to be witnesses to a society where Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “four freedoms” will flourish. They are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
During Lent, and especially during Holy Week, we remind ourselves how Jesus’ compassion for ordinary people led to clashes with authority, and eventually to his Passion on the cross.
At Easter, however, we celebrate the central truth of our faith, that not even death could defeat him.
And like his followers then, we who claim to be his followers now will proclaim that love is stronger than death, faith is greater than fear and truth is victorious over those who lie their way into power.
May this most holy season give us joy, hope and courage!
Let us worship and act together.
Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Amen!
The Reverend Peter Davison is Editor of Happenings, the newsletter of St. James Dundas.