This custom as it stands is formidable enough. Many a man Indian and foreign has fought it and failed. It is a huge and most rigorous system of tyrannical oppression, a very pyramid to look at, old, immovable. But there is somthing greater behind it. It is only the effect of a Cause-the Dust of the Actual.
What can alter the custom? Strong writing or speaking, agitations, Acts of Parliament? All these surely have their part. They raise the questions, stir the Dust - but blow it off? Oh no! Nothing can touch the conscience of the people, and utterly reverse their view of things, and radically alter them, but God.
Yes, it is true, we may make the mose of what had been done by Government, by missionaries and reformers, but there are times in the heart histories of all who look far enough down to see what goes on under the surface of things, when the Sorrow takes shape in the Prophet's cry "we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth."
It is true. We have not. We cannot even estimate the real weight of the lightest speck of the Dust that has settled on the life of this people. But we believe to see, and believing even now we see; and when we see anything, be it ever so little, when the Breath breathes and even"a hair's-breadth" of that Dust is blown away, then, with an intensity I cannot describe, we feel the presence of the Lord our God among us, and we look up in the silence of joy and expectation for the coming of the Day when all rule, and all authority and power, yea, the power of the very Actual itself, shall be put down, that God may be all in all." (p. 68-69)
As I read this, I was touched by three quotes in particular. She says, "Nothing can touch the conscience of people and utterly reverse their view of things, and radically alter them but God."
Later she says,
"But we believe to see, and believing even now, we see..."
Finally she states,
"It takes more. It takes God. It takes God to do anything anywhere."
I was honored to be able to deliver a sermon last week at The Welcome, the church that Amy Carmichael started over 100 years ago. As I prepared for that talk, the above words really impressed on me the depths of the change we are hoping to see happen in the church. It is a dramatic cultural change. Something insidious underlies the "Dust of the Actual." We need to utterly reverse people's views of things. But we can't do that, no one can but God. At the same time, however, through faith, we believe to see. We can to some extant envision what that cultural change would look like. Yes we can work and yes we should work. But for the dramatic wholesale change culturally that needs to happen within the church, change of something tyrannical, and something old and immovable like a pyramid, our only hope is God. It is very unlikely people will embrace changes in the traditions of man in order to embrace the commands of God (Mark 7:8 & 13).
Let's begin to pray in that direction. We can do what we can but once again,
"Nothing can touch the conscience of the people, and utterly reverse their view of things, and radically alter them, but God."