‘We follow the Way, the Truth and the Life. This old phrase has logic to it.’
This year of lockdown has given us words and phrases that will have lexicographers scratching their heads and leaping for joy. Words like ‘furlough’, ‘variant’ and ‘superspreader’ have acquired new meanings or resonances.
The word ‘woke’ proceeds from a previous period of time but continues to occupy a space in contemporary discourse. We recently heard a member of parliament call for stricter legislation to defend public statues, shrines and other places from the ‘woke mob’ who want to edit or rewrite history. There is a felt disquiet and scepticism over how younger Brits feel about the imperial history of this country.
So the term ‘woke’ is used in a derisory manner by people on the right wing. Over on the left, however, the word has different reverberations. It may sound ugly yet seems to sum up some aspects of the present moment. Those who know tell us that the word is more than just a description of kids who are ‘with it’, who are cool. For many it articulates a sensibility, a quality, an awareness deriving from social action. The word ramifies into the fields of economics and politics, gender inequality, transgender rights and the environment. On a personal level it can express rage and exhaustion. Socially, the word resonates amid discussion of issues around racism and discrimination.
But the word has not stayed there. The right has weaponised it to mean rigid, uptight and politically puritanical. The Daily Mail complained that Harry Windsor, after he and Meghan stepped back from their royal roles, had gone from ‘fun loving bloke to the Prince of Woke’.
How about you and I? Are Friends woke? Are our churches woke? Would Christ have been woke? His ministry took him to the margins of society, to a suffering and crushed humanity. He was crucified by the personal and structural sin which created the corrupt society of his time. He was faithful to the God of a new hope who raised him from the dead. On Easter Sunday, when Jesus woke, we celebrate that new life born from the misery and desolation which marked the humanity he knew and the humanity he himself was.
Our paschal journey continues. We follow Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life. This old phrase has logic to it. When we walk the way Jesus walks, we shall arrive at knowing the truth which will set us free. The truth which Jesus is will set us free to live life to the full. Way. Truth. Life. If we live life the way he did, we shall discover what living is about. First we walk the walk. Then we talk the talk. Have a Happy Easter.
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