THE PROPHETS

As we enter the second month of 2010 many thoughts flash through my mind as I contemplate the
various themes that have attracted my attention since the beginning of this year. I am thinking of
the plight of the people of Haiti and the refugees who attended our church lately. Very often it is
not possible to relieve the numerous challenges they face, but what we can offer, as a community
of faith, is our support and encouragement.
I marvel in the fact that a luncheon at the American Consulate brought the powerful example of
Martin Luther King to my attention again. It reminded me of the roots of our own Unitarian tradition
in pre-Christian times when the prophets challenged the kings who misused their power and mistreated
the people. Unitarians have a long history of questioning and challenging the status quo, including the
religious domain. The prophets of old had a vision of a better world. Martin Luther King said: “I have
a dream!”. The dream of the prophets was a dream of “freedom” and although most of them dreamt of
some kind of divine intervention, they also knew that it was up to them to claim their freedom. Their
strongest motivation in fact was to claim freedom in order to free those who were too timid to do that
for themselves. To this end the prophets were prepared to die. Unitarians claimed their freedom of
speech, their freedom of religion, their freedom to be fully human and much more. Nelson Mandela
called his autobiography: “Long walk to Freedom”. Unfortunately, once a freedom is gained its value
is quickly forgotten. One cannot help but feel that the freedom gained through people such as
Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Ds. Beyers Naude and many others is now being misused
and abused by people in high places in our country. I guess history tends to repeat itself.
But let us for a moment turn our eyes away from others and personally answer this searching
question: “To what extent is my life motivated by a vision greater than myself and my own comfort?”
I am so glad that we are preparing for the National Gathering of Unitarians this year. Someone said if
you want to change your family you need to have a vision for your community; if you want to change
your community you need to have a vision for your city; if you want to change your city you need to have
a vision for your province; if you want to change your province, have a vision for your country; if you want
to change your country have a vision for your continent and if you want to change your continent, have
a vision for the planet. Ultimately if you want to change the planet have a universal vision. I certainly
hope that our National Gathering will have that kind of influence even if only in a modest way.