CINDY THE SACRISTAN...
Take me to your leader!
During the week Cindy heard a speech at a Toastmasters Club meeting that was unforgettable. She has heard hundreds of speeches and many of them fade from memory quickly. This one however struck a chord with her as it packed such a powerful message.
The speech began with a statement — "A space ship landed on Earth today and some aliens emerged through a hatch. You are the first person they see — how will you respond to this request from them 'TAKE US TO YOUR LEADER'"
Sounds so simple doesn't it? So WHO is our leader on Earth? To whom are you going to take the aliens? The speaker delved into many possibilities during the following ten minutes.
Cindy now shares with you her own thoughts after reflecting upon the speech. Her fertile mind has been in overtime pondering a question that she had never thought about until the challenge presented in the brilliantly crafted speech.
Think of all the countries on earth and their leaders. They may be held in high esteem in a particular country but outside those borders have little impact on the rest of the world.
Presidents and Prime Ministers come and go. They hold great power in their own part of the world, but they are not world leaders though some of them may like to think they are!
The Pope may be the leader of over one billion Catholics spread throughout most, if not all countries in the world — but even more billions of people would never for a moment consider him THE leader on Earth. Nor would people consider the leader of the Muslim religion THE person to whom they would take the aliens. There are more than 80,000 Muslim people living in Australia compared to 4.6 million Catholics — many of whom do not attend regular Sunday Mass.
The Dalai Lama, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other well-known figures may be high profile religious leaders — but they are not THE leader on our Earth either.
As a Christian person Cindy considers THE Leader on Earth is God. God alone is the leader of all peoples on this planet we inhabit named Earth. But how many people would even consider our invisible God as a leader? How many even care about God or believe there is such a being? Many people nowadays are delving into black magic and witchcraft, crystals and strange forms of spirituality.
Are we a leaderless people?
So are we a leaderless people? Do we roam the earth in gay abandon? Are we waiting for a Moses figure to lead us out of the desert into a fertile valley? Are we wandering minstrels mostly so full of ourselves that we don't even want a leader?
We have certain rules in each country and local regulations that dictate many things to us. Land on planet Earth is bought and sold. We love to buy a little plot of dirt we can call our very own and build a house on it. Wars are won and lost because whole countries want to take over the land occupied by other countries. Greed brings out the worst on a national level. Leaders want more and more power — seemingly achieved by taking over land held by peoples of another race and creed.
Powerful magnates control our money markets. Their actions may affect us in small or big ways, but we would never consider them our leaders would we? They buy and sell and the Hang Seng and Nikkei Dow rise and fall — shown to us on our televisions screens each evening. Newspaper empires are swapped around between the rich and famous and they have great influence over what we read and there may well be a bias of opinions printed in their newspapers. The do have powers of persuasion but they are certainly not our leaders.
India has a large population well above one billion people but has their leader any influence outside of India? Do you even know the name of the leader in India?
China has the largest population of any country in the world, currently 1,306,313,812 people and increasing daily. Do you really think a Catholic Pope, an American President or an Australian Prime Minister would be seen by them as a leader? Again Cindy asks — "Do you know the name of the leader in China?"
The United States of America has a population above 300 million. This figure pales in comparison to the well over a billion people in China.
Australia has a population of barely 21 million.
Leadership is an interesting thing...
Leadership itself is an interesting thing. Look at this on a parish level. Cindy knows that the parish priest has the final say on everything happening in the parish. Committees may meet for weeks and come to decisions eventually (well maybe). She remembers an occasion twenty years ago when a Liturgy Group worked for weeks toward producing a new hymnbook for the parish. It was before the Gather book was published in the mid 1990's. This little group obtained all the copyright permission necessary. They typed out all the pages and presented the final product ready for printing to the parish priest of St Michael's at the time. He knew the group had been working for months on this endeavour but when the crunch came, he just stated flatly "The parish cannot afford to print this".
Furious, the group disbanded soon afterwards. Disgruntled and disenchanted they found other ways to use their creative energy. So this is an example of the power and control of one parish priest. Yet outside the boundaries of the parish he had no influence at all.
If the little green men from the spaceship asked Cindy to take them to the leader of planet Earth, she would not be leading them to any parish priest. Nor would she take them to the Cardinal of Australia. Do even the Australian Catholics consider him a leader? She would in fact be quite stumped — just who is our world leader?
Cindy pondered the Royal families of different countries. Many people just consider them a burden on the taxpayer. Other folks enjoy following their life stories — almost like one big continuous glorified television 'soapie'. How would those glossy magazines survive without continual fodder reporting on the antics of members of the royal families and film stars. These magazines may have great influence over some people with regards to what they wear and how they want to look but the editors are not world leaders.
Films and movie stars have a great following as people seek idols to model themselves upon. As humans we all want someone we can look up to. Teenage bedroom walls are adorned with posters — many of David Hasselhoff who is reported to have a bigger following than the Pope or any other figure in the world at this time. In Europe his fame is astonishing. Why? Because he has a great body perhaps and knows how to use the media including the internet to spread his message?
Our teenagers take their moral conduct from the nightly television 'soapies'. The writers of these shows hold great power over the formation of our children's consciences and behaviour — but do their ideas agree with ours, probably not? Silently they wield a great influential power over our children while Mum's are busy preparing the evening meal.
Sporting heroes are held in high esteem by some people. Even fictional book or stage characters can become real in the minds of some people and influence they way the live.
Drugs, alcohol, gambling and nicotine could be seen as controlling powers. They certainly have a strong hold on the lives of millions of people. These can be seen as great evils when taken in excess. So faceless and nameless powerful drug-runners control the lives of the addicted. Certainly not leaders we would freely choose.
Cindy has always believed that Power is an invisible thing. It is something that we allow another person to hold over us. Maturity helps us free ourselves from this type of manipulation and control.
The speech Cindy heard was crafted in such a way that the audience was left to answer the question for themselves. "Who is our leader on planet Earth?"
To whom would you take the little green men who arrived in the space ship?
Cindy also leaves you to think about this question for yourselves. She needs to go to St Michael's now and set up the church ready for an afternoon wedding. This morning it was a funeral. Tonight there is a special Mass for a parish couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. St Michael's is a hive of activity even if planet Earth has no leader.
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