Thought for the Week:
As I tidied up the church after the wedding that was two hours late, I wondered about the big society. I felt the tiredness of the couple who had voluntarily stewarded the event and had gone home exhausted. The event was glorious and the celebration extravagant, I know because of the debris that was left. But the argument goes - as the ones providing a service surely it was our responsibility to ensure that all went well and things were cleared up afterwards. However, it leaves the feeling that as service providers, we are nobodies and then as nobodies do we have value?
Society, big or small cannot be like this. Either we all have value or there is no society. Society is about giving value to one another, something that the church has sought to practice over the years – for many years Methodists saw themselves as a society. We came together for mutual support and encouragement: we came not in our perfection but in our weakness. Now I have to admit that this is not always fun and can be stressful. Living with one another’s weaknesses is not always easy; yet when I am accepted in my weakness there is a strange release. When I am not over indulged in my weakness then I have the opportunity for improvement. This is the beauty of society. It has the capacity for people to be inconvenienced for one another without exploitation and being left feeling as nobodies. It means that people give up their right to have everything their way so that others might be valued. This is what the church sees in Jesus: to build or rebuild society he gave up his rights and suffered that others might find themselves valued.
Now I have to admit that it is always tempting to run away from society since living in it is demanding and painful. But where else can I find people who will put up with me and help me with my weaknesses. I cannot demand that someone ought to, can I!
So if we seek value for the individual it is found in society and I believe that the Christian society is a good model.