Last Sunday's newspaper brought a sense of horror as I read how doctors offer women the option of "foetal reduction" in the case of multiple pregnancies, which is achieved through injecting a salt solution into the heart of the infant in utero. Further into the paper was a series of interviews with young people about their first-time vote at the recent state elections. The decisive issues were cited as: possible decriminalisation of marijuana, the Grand Prix, and the casino. Later in the week, the government responded to the tragedy of Kew Cottages by releasing a draft paper on possible decriminalisation of marijuana. There is cause to pause and question the source and merit of the values that are being expressed.
The values of the gospel are now largely overlooked in the wider community. The impact of the church and its teaching has been gently but significantly diminished over the years, as people's concept of God has changed. Whilst we might lament such a course of events, it is also an indictment of our willingness to engage in a meaningful way on these issues. Where has the voice of the church been? How will they hear without a preacher?
When we limit the work of the church and the gospel to the walls of the church, we are ignoring a basic reason for God's call upon our lives: to proclaim Him. Indeed, one might suggest that we are just beginning to reap the fruit of such an attitude. Instead, the people most affected are those without a voice, those who do not have the power to speak, or defend themselves: the very people that Jesus came to save.
To be the church means to speak up when people are being harmed, to stand in defense of the poor and the powerless, to proclaim the character of God. For us the excuse "It doesn't affect me" is not available. To be the church means to make a difference. To be a christian means to make a difference. This is our call. This is our mission. One we can only accomplish together.
April 14, 1996