What time is it?
Is it summer time? The weather suggests that it is: hot and dry for days on end; roses coming into bloom; hanging baskets appearing, Virginia creeper turning a red brick wall into green and on the allotment potatoes showing, squashes planted out, rhubarb and asparagus to harvest.
Is it time to celebrate? A glorious royal wedding, celebrating diversity and the power of love, was inspiring for many people. My eldest grandchild celebrated her 17th birthday, with family and friends, and had her first driving lesson.
Is it time to change? Some of the commitments I took on after retirement are coming to an end, there are new ones already on the horizon, the world continues to produce crises, and the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are as pressing as ever. Does this call for new priorities and different commitments?
When the Quaker movement began, there was a strong expectation that the world was on the cusp of radical transformation, the new world was imminent. Their hopes were disappointed as so often happens when people look for the world to be turned upside down. Quakers today are again looking for renewal not only for themselves but for the world. These are “turbulent times” they say, but this provides an opportunity for creating justice and peace, as well as the possibility of disaster.
The first Quakers looked back to the time of Jesus, when there was a desperate hope for liberation amongst his people. And there were signs of a new community amongst the early followers of the Way. At a Bible Study session this week we explored the influence of Paul on the direction that early Christian community took. We asked did Paul invent or reinvent Christianity? My own view was that Jesus and Paul both attempted to create a community based on love and justice. They lived in different contexts. Our challenge is to take up that challenge in our own time.
This is not a time to lose faith, give up hope, or abandon the struggle for love, peace and justice. We can draw inspiration and encouragement from the signs of renewal around us. The new growth in the garden, the royal wedding with its many careful choices to express equality of women and men, people of colour, the joy of family and friends offering mutual support all of these can urge us to tackle the continuing injustice and inequality in our society and the whole world.
It is time to act.