Week 48: Wednesday – It Takes A Village To Make A Change

1 Peter 2:12

12 People who do not believe are living all around you and might say that you are doing wrong. Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

In today’s world, the question of whether or not humanity has turned for the worse is always present. A lot of people wonder whether or not there is a better future in store. If one tries to search the internet and magazines on what they think about the future, many articles and studies have given forecasts of bleak futures for our children. People beg to ask the question why the crime rate is constantly going up, why our children are becoming more cruel and less respectful, and whether or not people will be given the chance to even have a decent life in the next twenty-five years or so.

Case in point, why is there rampant growth of a game called “knockout” in the United States? The game in itself is simple, the goal is to sucker-punch a random stranger and knock them unconscious. What society was able to produce a game like that? The sad part is, we cannot say it is simply an American thing. There have been reports of this game getting traction in Australia, Ireland, and Indonesia as well.

How then, do we see the future? To look towards the future, first it is important to see and remember the past. When we think about how a village was able to change how the world looks, we cannot look past the movie The Last Samurai. Although fictional, it gives an idea as to why Japan was able to rise. Told from the perspective of Nathan Algren, it chronicles the change in his perspective from the man who was to put an end to the rebellion to the man who believed in what the village of Katsumoto thought best for Japan. Japan at that time was on a path towards Westernization, throwing away everything that made them who they were. How did Katsumoto and the samurai change Nathan Algren and, in the process, the emperor? Through their lives that were lived so excellently that Nathan Algren had to ask the question, why?

In the end, the little things we do may seem to be simply that: little things that have no meaning nor bear weight in the grand scheme of things. However, isn’t that precisely what our Lord Jesus Christ did? Everyone expected a militaristic leader that was going to topple the Roman Empire. What they got was the complete opposite. They were given the call to turn the other cheek, to love their enemy as they love themselves, and to give their lives over and suffer. To Nathan Algren, what Katsumoto and his village did seemed insignificant in the face of the West and all their power and technology. Yet to Emperor Meiji, it spoke of the identity of the Japanese and the path towards their future.

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