In the account of Elijah with Ahab and Jezebel, I am struck by how Elijah speaks to this king and queen. There is no groveling here. There is no recognition of them as somehow greater than him. He speaks as to equals, as if before God there is no higher class or lower. Elijah is no royalty. He is not a part of the elite. He is just a man, a man who prayed and heard God’s voice. And when Elijah did he had a vision of what justice looks like – and saw the people on the top, in this case Ahab and Jezebel, were not living up to that reality of justice.
This is challenging to me. I don’t know about you but sometimes when I see the weight of injustice in our society – how the top tiniest percentage gain the most wealth while most average people eke by, when I see the oppression faced by my friends & neighbors of color and who are LGBT, I get overwhelmed. I am just an average guy, doing my job and caring for my family. What can I do?
Elijah’s example reminds me that the concepts in my mind – average guy, ordinary gal, or top dog, leader, executive – are just that: ideas. They are not real. In reality, the person on the top and me are no different. If Elijah can do something about injustice, if he can speak up and raise his voice, how much more can I? As the main character in the British sci fi show Doctor Who says, “900 years of time and space, and I have never met anyone who is not important”
In fact, in many ways it is easier to be an important voice for change, whomever you are, today. The book of Kings tells the story of times in which Ahab and Jezebel attempt to kill their critics, going on witch-hunts against voices that speak out against them. In that day, the king held absolute authority, while today I live in a democracy. I can vote against their policies, and usually can be a part of voting them out.
I can also reach out to raise my voice against unjust practices in local and national businesses. I can get involved in volunteering at places that lift up the lives of the suffering, or groups that call for changing our systems of injustice.
Though it may be overwhelming, I too can do my part. And so can you.
Let’s try to realize there are no “ordinary people” but all of us have the capacity to become Elijahs who do our part against injustice.
And I sure ain’t whistling Dixie,
Your progressive redneck preacher,