Rise above our Fallen Condition

Events in America have quickly regressed. The death of George Floyd is yet another example of police brutality against an Afro-American. Racism has many faces. Sometimes it’s as blunt as violence. Often it’s more subtle. Lower wages and levels of education. Unable to access health services. Fewer job opportunities and career progression. All of this is regrettable.

Things have spiralled down since then. Floyd’s death has struck a chord with a disgruntled under-class, who have suffered generational discrimination. With resilience down, some have used the spirit of discontent to act out with looting, ransacking, and pay-back.

On the other side of the ledger, the powerful are using this disruption to blame, and divide. To make political gain out of the misfortune of others.

All of this looks like Lord of the Flies. The seminal novel, which suggests that given the wrong circumstances, otherwise normal and law-abiding citizens can be capable of the unthinkable. The veneer of social cohesion, it turns out, is far thinner than we would like to admit.

We see the same in scripture. How quickly does Israel turn from God to worshipping a golden cow? And what about the cannibalism in Jerusalem under siege just before exile. Or the crowd so easily persuaded to cry release Barabbas and crucify Jesus.

The unsettling thought for me is, there but for the grace of God go I. Our internal abilities to be good are not as strong as we would like. It’s only by God’s transforming Spirit that we can rise above our fallen condition and weakest inclinations.

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