On the front page of the Geelong Advertiser, Saturday 28th of May, the headline reads “Sick Kids Fizz Ban”. The picture of the pouring fizzy can with the word ‘canned’ initially caught my attention to read the whole article. Apparently, a decision has been reached by Barwon Health that it will soon removed all sugary drinks from its cafeterias and vending machines as their way of ’targeting obesity and diabetes.’ So if you are one of those whose excuse after a long visit to the doctor is to settled yourself down with the aid of a sugary treat, be warned a bottle of H2O with a Mars bars may just be as good.
In my view, this article is interesting for two reasons. First, it highlights not only the alarming rate of people diagnosed with diabetes across our nation every year, it also hints at a society which becoming more at home with the notion that the corporate entity, be it government or organisation, knows best. Whilst banning sugary drinks from hospitals is a commendable part of the solution it continues to remove from the individual their right to make their own decision on matters important to them. The government’s own health website identified that the main cause of obesity is not just the choice of food people eat or drink, it is also their lack of exercise and physical activity. Banning the food without supporting the individual to make good life choices in food and lifestyle will offer, at best, a bandaid solution into solving this national health concern. Empowering the people to see the benefit to their lives and their community of making the right choices will enable a more prosperous community and a healthy nation.
Our Lectionary reading from the Hebrew Bible for this Sunday (1 Kings 18:18-39) tells of Elijah’s triumph over the priests of Baal. It is a very captivating account of how Elijah challenged both the priests of the Israelite and them of Baal to make firm their choice of which God they will seek to follow. On the surface,the story may seems to be about the challenge laid down by Elijah and the favourable outcome he received from his God. In closer examination of the selected text, it allows the priest, and us, to see that the act Elijah performed was no consequence to how God has acted for and on their behalf in the past. Whether the sacrificial ritual of a full unblemished lamb or simply a ‘bull’ cut up in pieces, and water drenched the offering, is followed or not, God will act nonetheless. The God of their ancestors who remained faithful to them in the past and has ‘chosen’ them as his people will continue to be their God. The choice that they are now making is much easier when they can connect the dots between what confronts them now and that of their history. Through out that history, even when they were in doubts, they were drenched by the faithfulness of their God and that will remain be the case into the future.
I hope that as you go about your daily activities this week be assured that God has chosen us in his Son Jesus Christ thereby making it bearable the choices we have to make in life what ever the consequences.