Thursday 23rd March 2023

The Chaplain's Log

The characters we encounter in the first stories of the Old Testament all seem to deflect responsibility.  Adam and Eve blame each other, Cain murders his brother and appears indifferent.  These and other failures point to a general human temptation—avoiding responsibility.  

This week in chapel we heard the story of the great leader Moses who witnessing an Egyptian beat a Hebrew slave steps in, albeit with tragic results.  What are we to do when wrong things happen in front of us?

For a long time sociologists have highlighted the “the bystander effect,”—that tendency we have to think that because no-one seems to be doing anything what is happening is not so important, or that someone else will step up and help.

In our school life we have spoken of being an 'upstander', a person who leads by taking responsibility, by intervening where necessary.  

As rabbi Jonathan Sacks puts it, "When stuff happens some look away, some wait for others to act, some blame others for not acting"...[Upstanders say], “If something is wrong, let me be among the first to try and put it right.”

This is what builds foundations for life. With God's help the boys of John McGlashan can make a difference—make a more just and better world.  Taking responsibility does mean owning our own failure, but it also means standing up, sometimes when we are the only ones.

Every time you go into the ELC you see the words of Jesus—"To whom much is given much is expected."  God gave us personal freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility.

God calls us to use the freedom He gave us to make the world more like the world that ought to be.