Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Power of the Few

A precis of this morning's sermon--one I really wish I had taped so it could be transcribed.

"WE don't have as many people, we just can't do it anymore"
"Wasn't it nice when we were so big and had such a loud voice"

"The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all was leavened" (Matt 13:33 NRSV)
"Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask it will be done...where two or three are gathered in my name I am there" (Matt 18:19-20 NRSV)

"But really, we don't have enough people!"

It strikes me that the power of God is not shown in the many. It is show in the power of the few. God is shown more in the power of a few people off to the side to change the world than in the many voices ready to stay the course. A few determined people can make all the difference. It is like onions.

Once I bought a 3lb bag of onions. But there was a long time between me using an onion. When I went to get one I found that one of them had turned moldy. NOt a problem, but the three that were touching it had mould spots on them. Given time that one onion would have turned the whole bag. The power of the few.

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast. Dry old grains that sit on my cupboard shelf for years until I make buns again. They look rather useless as I mix them with water and sugar and set them aside. BUt 10 minutes later they are foaming as I add them to the dough. 2 hours later the dough has doubled. The power of the few and small.

As a governmental system democracy has much that is good. But it also contains a lie. It contains and encourages the lie that whoever has the loudest voice or the most votes is right. It ain't necessarily so. Sometimes the majority is just plain wrong. Sometimes we need the voice of the few, the few who notice that the emperor has no clothes, the few who are willing to change a system that benefits them (all governing systems are, in the end, bound to protect the institution), the few who will stand up and shout into the wind until someone happens to listen. We need them to keep us honest, to keep us watching ourselves, to keep us listening for the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19).

Many times in history a small group has made a big difference. Are we willing to embrace the power of the few?

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