Choice between creative and destructive power
Human beings have been given the power to create and the power to destroy. If we are to flourish then we must use the power given to us in a creative and imaginative way says Rev Philip Young.
Tragically in our histories many societies have chosen to use destructive and coercive power, over and above creative power. Those countries with the greatest military and economic power have often misused power and others have looked up to their power and tried to copy it in their own countries. This way has led to power gaining a bad name and many good people have decided to shy away from using any sort of power.
The church has also used power in a coercive and destructive way down the ages and so this has further added to the shying away from using power in a good way.
Jesus however has shown us a new way to use power and when he sends the Holy Spirit to his followers they receive power from on high. This then shows us that not all power is bad or corrupt power. How do we define the power for good and how can we regain the confidence to use it?
Jesus gives us a new commandment that we should love one another. Jesus has shown us his own power by giving up power. He comes to show us the powerful way of serving others and looking to the needs of others before we look to our own needs. This seems contrary to the selfish gene, that we have inherited, which looks for its own survival first.
‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains alone’ says Jesus. The powerful way and the creative way is to give yourself away for the good of others. We cannot exist alone and our happiness is bound up in the happiness of the community.
In our faith, the power of the resurrection is the most powerful force in the world. Unless we have power over death then what we do will, in the end, come to an end and all is futile. The power of the resurrection says to us that love is stronger than hate, that life is more powerful than death, that creation triumphs over destruction.
Creative power needs to overcome destructive power because destructive power is literally destroying the earth. The prophecy that the swords will be beaten into ploughshares will be fulfilled when human beings challenge the destructive power with the power of resurrection life and love.
If we are to be the body of Christ on earth then we must take the power of love, life and resurrection seriously. They are the way to overcome the power of destruction, which we see in war and oppression. Creative loving human beings take power and live!!
Bring on the new age where love reigns supreme. God is love.
Philip Young is Vicar of St. Thomas’ Heigham, Norwich
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