"Each time human beings stand up for an ideal, or act to improve the lot of others, or strike out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance"
Robert F. Kennedy, From a speech at the University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966 (courtesy of Inward/Outward)
We are still in the Easter season. I am not sure that I fully appreciate that as much as I would like to. The daily readings are all full of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels ground us in what Jesus was saying and doing. We are in the bread of life discourse from John this week. What could be more incarnational than that?
So, what does that have to do with the Robert F. Kennedy quote that I started with?
I guess I am often reminded as I go to blogs and enter into conversations about the state of the Church today. It is this... It is that... It is all good... It is all bad... It is right... It is wrong...
So many answers. So few questions. So much certitude. So little wisdom.
When I read this quote I was reminded of how actions in the present may not seem to have any bearing on the future. Think for a moment about Robert F. Kennedy, in Capetown in 1966; the place was seemingly intransigently steeped in apartheid. Today it is a very different place, even with its problems.
That brought me to the days following the resurrection. Please forgive my levity, but I often joke that many of us were brought up to believe that Jesus rose on the third day, vested in a fiddleback chasuble, entered a Gothic cathedral and celebrated a liturgy that was not put into practice until somewhere around the Council of Trent.
It is important to remind ourselves that those days after the resurrection were not the church we know today. The church of the Council of Trent is not the church we know today.
The Church is alive as the Church is us. What is being wrought today that we can't possibly imagine?
To be a follower of Christ is to be a ripple that forms a great wave. It is not our job to know exactly where and how the wave lands, but rather to just be in it. And Christ brings down all the mightiest walls of resistance and oppression.