There were five in the bed- so who said, ‘roll over’?

Albert Bogle July 12, 2016 0 0
There were five in the bed- so who said, ‘roll over’?

With all the shenanigans going on in the Labour party and the Tory party, I couldn’t help recalling the lyrics of Neil Young’s song - "Lookin’ for a leader".

"Lookin' For A Leader"

Lookin' for a Leader
To bring our country home
Re-unite the red white and blue
Before it turns to stone 

Lookin' for somebody
Young enough to take it on
Clean up the corruption
And make the country strong 

Walkin' among our people
There's someone who's straight and strong
To lead us from desolation
And a broken world gone wrong 

Someone walks among us
And I hope he hears the call
And maybe it's a woman
Or a black man after all 

How quickly everything changes in the world of politics. Just over a week ago we were being told by the pundits that Boris would be the next Prime Minister. Then it changed; the political infighting started and within a few days Boris had changed his mind. He had made the wrong decision. His campaign manager felt he was better placed to take the reins of power. The word on the street was we’d have a leaders’ contest and we’d have to wait nine weeks before the new Prime Minister was in place. More politicking took place and five candidates became two because three more politicians had changed their minds. So then there were two- but guess what?  Surprise, surprise! The politician who was being likened most to the ‘Iron Lady’ turned around and changed her mind!

At last we are told by late Wednesday afternoon this week Prime Minister May will be in 10 Downing Street, and guess what?  Yes, she too has changed her mind!  She believes she must carry out the mandate of the 17 million who voted leave, although it is now thought a great many of them want to change their minds like the leaders who promoted ‘leave’ in the first place.

We’re a strange breed, we humans. We know the world in which we live changes very quickly, but somehow we want to pretend we are shocked when it does.  It’s because we wish it was different. We want everything to remain the same. Change unsettles us, makes us feel insecure. We all long for continuity. Yet nothing continues forever and that makes us feel restless.

None of us can tell in advance what a day will bring forth. ‘We can make our plans’, but the writer of the Proverbs reminds us that it is, ‘the Lord who determines our steps’ (Prov.16.9).

How then should we live?  How should we respond to change? I think we need to learn to live in such a way that we recognise that there is nothing that we will ever totally own or control, because either it will change or we will change. We are mere custodians of our wealth, our world and our relationships.

If we started to engage with this reality we would find that many of the things that trouble us would be put into a different perspective. We might start thinking about our relationships as mattering more than our real estate or our bank balance or our position in life.

To live in relationship with others turns the “I” of self into a “we”. It means that identity is no longer understood in isolation but in community. Is it not true that many people speak of finding their true self when they felt part of something bigger than themselves?

So from where, or from whom, do we receive our identities? None of us are truly individuals; we are people who need to live in relationship with one another and have been brought into being because of another. However if it is God that determines our steps, it seems to me that above all we need to learn what it means to live in relationship with God.

Understanding this relationship with God is an important part of beginning to understand our human identity. There is an aspect of our humanity that is God shaped. I love this quotation from Vincent Van Gogh’s letter to a young friend two years before he died. 

“{Christ} lives serenely as a greater artist than all other artists, despising marble and clay as well as colour, working in living flesh. That is to say, this matchless artist, hardly to be conceived of by the obtuse instrument of our modern, nervous, stupefied brains, made neither statues, nor pictures, nor books: he loudly proclaimed that he made… living men, immortals”

If it is from the heart of the creator God that we have been made and conceived, then that is the reason why we carry his likeness. We are made in his image. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, reminds us that, ‘we are his workmanship’. Hence we have a longing for eternity, a sense that there is more to come. There is a restlessness to be more than we are. The poet writing in Ecclesiastes says:

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

It is this searching for meaning and purpose that drives us to explore the idea that we are people in search of a living relationship with our maker. St. Augustine said, “Thou has made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they learn to rest in Thee.” 

We may well be collectively looking for a leader but we are actually searching out our Maker.