By REV ANGELA C BOSFIELD PALACIOUS
First we pray, next we share, and then we act to make change visible. If you are interested you may decide to follow suit:
Brainstorm together with people who have a heart for change
Decide on some areas that are in dire need of elimination, reduction or modification
Group them into several categories
Discuss the problems and possible solutions in each category
Plan to include partners from the community who can provide information and resources
Strategise on the first steps to be taken
Take these steps as a team
Arrange regular meeting times to evaluate methods to be used and measure progress made
Keep in regular contact to offer encouragement and support.
Celebrate the smallest of accomplishments
Some broad areas for consideration are:
Family Life: focusing on parenting skills, teen issues, values and moral development
Legal Issues: crime, violence, abuse, incest, drugs
Faith: More intentional spiritual development of persons of all ages and both sexes.
They will involve medical personnel, officers of the law, pastors, teachers, social workers and anyone else who has expertise in any of these areas.
As Christians, the idea is to show love in radical and practical ways. We want people to see and feel the presence of the Lord through our interest, involvement, determination and dedication to initiate action, and follow through to the end: "Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognised him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:6-10 NIV).
Like Nehemiah, we expect some resistance and opposition, but we are ready and willing to stand up and be counted as being on the Lord's side. We are to be passionate and purpose-filled.
"Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, 'The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.' Also our enemies said, 'Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.' Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, 'Wherever you turn, they will attack us.' Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, 'Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes'. When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. (Nehemiah 4:12-15 NIV).
What about you and your church? Are you so tired of demoralisation and degradation that you are also ready to make a change happen? Join with persons of other denominations, neighbours on your street and in the immediate vicinity, colleagues at work, members of your small group, or members of your civic organisation.
Keep talking and praying until a few other voices join you or you may decide to join up with persons already active in your area of interest who share your spiritual principles. All it takes is for good people to get better at troubling the throne of grace and being the light of Christ in the darkness of this world.
Who should do this? The answer is you.
When should it be done? The answer is now.
What have we to gain? We have God's Kingdom of love made more visible to others.
What have we to lose if we do not act? We have everything to lose that God has given to us so graciously and that our ancestors slaved to protect.
Are you willing to help bring about much needed change? If so, it is time to get up and get moving.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at email@example.com.