Photo Courtesy of TIME
At the outset
In the 19th Century a French sociologist Emile Durkheim coined the acronym ‘anomie’ to describe the then growing absence of norms in society. Today, global trends of governance under the violent, greedy and deceitful similarly require an easy reference. At least for the purposes of this reflection the acronym ‘VIGED,’ will do. It stands for these three dominant aberrations and rhymes with wicked. In the Bible the wicked are those soaked in self-interest. They deprive the innocent, defy God, and are despised.
Some time ago, the VIGED comprised kings and priests. Kings set the standards and priests aped them. Together they abused their authority to protect and provide for those in their care. Their public lives amounted to a personal investment in power and profits.
This has not changed except that presidents and parliaments have replaced kings. But priests persist. They have mastered the art of continuity by projecting their indispensability.
VIGEDNESS has through the ages warped the destinies of humankind. Today, it is the most lethal virus that the world has known. It rapes Mother earth, ruins nations and dictates global affairs. Never satisfied with what has been amassed, any challenge whether pandemic or terror, is twisted around to loot and subdue all over again.
The stable setting
The vulnerable and wise met in a stable at the birth of the baby. The wise came from afar and the vulnerable from near. They were both aware of the VIGED Roman Empire that occupied Palestine. Rome built roads and made laws that demanded order; the Roman version. Roads moved soldiers quickly to quell uprisings and convert free citizens into slaves.
There was little the wise and vulnerable could do about the VIGED. So it seemed until they stood by the baby. Here, vulnerability is stirred in the wise. They encounter deprived shepherds; a harsh world that their star gazing had missed. By the baby, wisdom is stirred within the vulnerable. They encounter diligent astronomers, looking out for lurking wolves, had deprived them of the privilege of looking up.
As both groups go down before the baby, the wise in humility and the vulnerable in awe, something happens. The wise are touched by vulnerability and the vulnerable, touched by wisdom.
Vulnerability in the wise and wisdom in the vulnerable, dormant until then, is the transformation that transpires by the baby. The visitors do not only come with gifts. They also leave with a gift. Wisdom and vulnerability, intrinsically integrated, comprise the gift of hope.
A new mind set
There is an unshakable ethic in the bearers of hope. They will not cooperate with the VIGED. But it does not stop there. They soon learn to defy the ways of the VIGED.
The wise persons will not be enticed with invitations to the court of Herod the VIGED, the stooge of Emperor VIGED. They are made of sterner, stable-stuff. They return the way they came by reading the stars. The VIGED controlled the roads but could not hide the stars.
The voice of the vulnerable shepherds cannot be censored. They too are made of sterner, stable-stuff. They sing a new song of freedom at the top of their voices, on top of the hills. The days of the VIGED are numbered. A governance of righteousness, right relationships and right values, is in sight.
The wise remind us that all routes are not controlled by VIGED Rome. Neither do they lead to Rome. The vulnerable remind us that freedom towers above the oppressive laws of VIGED Rome.
Touched by the baby, the wise and the vulnerable discover a purpose far greater than themselves. Unshakable integrity and courageous voices are inevitably translated into responsibility by their neighbour.
The VIGED inset
For all their rhetoric, the VIGED fear the wise and the vulnerable. The wise mirror the deceit of the VIGED. They easily see through their selfish scheming to advise and urge. When nothing changes, they write and speak, calling for accountability.
The vulnerable mirror the greed and violence of the VIGED. They plead and recall promises to save people and nation. When nothing changes, hunger and desperation drive them onto the streets.
The wise and the vulnerable watch and wait but not just. The wise embrace the vulnerable as they wait. This makes them wiser. Wisdom alone is academic. The vulnerable discern wisdom as they wait. This is the spirituality of the poor. Force alone is destructive.
But mirrors can be broken, and not by chance. This is why solidarity between those who research and those who fill the streets matters.
Solidarity is like a vaccine. It resists the toxic influence of the VIGED and promises life. Unlike those rolled out for unfathomable profits by the big pharma, this vaccine is free. It does not even require a jab. Mindfulness at the stable is all it takes.
This is Christmas hope in VIGED times.
With peace and blessings to all