Volume 6, Issue 9, May 1997


Now that I've reached the stage in life of having grandchildren who come to visit our home I notice we're back to the admonition to them to wash their hands after play and before eating. It is learning time again for the simple hygiene of cleanliness.

But, I am reminded that for us adults there are times when we should not wash our hands. The term "washing the hands" has become part of our speech since Pontius Pilate allowed the conviction of Jesus and symbolically washed his hands of the matter with a basin of water.

Since that time the term to wash ones hands of a matter is a synonym for avoiding responsibility. We can avoid making a decision in an important issue and sidestep the confrontation. This not the time to wash ones hands.

When we adopt Pilate's attitude we betray the past, history. We do not need to be reminded of the many before us who took their stand and accepted responsibility to see that good was done. Achievements have come about among us because of the labours of the passionate few.

Let it be noted as well that when we act as Pilate did, we betray the future. When we refuse to become involved in today's problems and difficulties we weaken the heritage of our community. What are we doing for our children? What will we leave them with? The accomplishments of our civilization must not be jeopardized by inaction by those of us who would stand back and hope all turns out well.

Participatory democracy, social action, calls for each of us to contribute as able and to live up to our ideals. It is a matter of giving our hands to the task.

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"Religion NOW" is published in limited edition by the Rev. Ross E. Readhead, B.A., B.D., Certificate of Corrections, McMaster University, in the interest of furthering knowledge and participation in religion. Dialogue is invited and welcomed.