This week marks the turn of the year from summer into autumn. It has not been much of a summer. We had all the promise of spring, but our hopes for the dog days of summer heat have never materialised. Now the farmers are trying to gather the harvest in difficult conditions.
Our small community echoes a larger stage. The world enthused over the prospects of an Arab Spring. There were hopes that the Middle East dictatorships would be replaced by democratic institutions and that the Arab peoples would be freed from the shackles of police states. A very few of these early hopes were quickly realised and others led to protracted struggles. At last it seems the Libyan people are on the brink of reaping their freedom. The world is daily awaiting the outcome with excitement.
Life is so uncertain, so transitory, so full of ups and downs. This is why so many of us find comfort and reassurance of an unchanging God who was able to say: “Before Abraham was, I am”. He has given us clear rules as to how we should lead our lives and, whether or not we go to church, this is a Christian community. If we help our neighbours and each do our best to worry through in difficult times, we shall not go far wrong. We can pray this week that our farmers may have a successful result to their difficult harvest.
Two weeks ago in this column David Dixon reflected profoundly on the inner city riots. His conclusion that we should look to their causes is very wise. We must not think complacently that our own county is perfect. We must try to correct each fault as it becomes apparent and work away slowly at creating a fairer society.
We should never be satisfied. Equally we should not expect too much at first from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. They have accomplished a revolution this summer, but their road to democracy will be a long slow one. Democracy can seldom be imposed by force; it is best achieved by degrees with due respect to local traditions and custom.