“As we hang the new calendar for the year 1968, the prognosis is not a cheerful one.”
Rabbi Olan’s foresight was correct. 1968 turned out to be a year of conflict and calamity. He could read the signs of bad things to come based on the conviction that the law of cause-and-effect operates in the moral universe, not just in physics. Unaddressed social problems like racism and persistent poverty don’t just go away on their own. They thrive on neglect. They fester with age. They explode with rage. “In a universe of law, you reap what you sow. There is no escape from that.”
Are the signs of our times any less ominous? As individuals, communities, and a nation, what have we done or left undone that is coming back to haunt us today? Is there any hope for the future?
Despite seeing the dark clouds gather, Rabbi Olan did not give up. Instead, he offered these words of encouragement and challenge: “Much is possible in the future, but we must plant the good seed. Selfishness and self-interest will not do it. Only a sense of being one body of humankind who must look out for the health and well-being of all members or else become diseased, only this view and a life based upon it can go from the judgment to the greater day.”
Rabbi Olan said much more in this sermon. Don’t miss any of it. Follow the links below to get the full impact of his January 14, 1968 message.
*Written by Timothy Binkley*