Every so often something happens that shocks our comfort zone or just prompts us to reflect. That is part of life and it is healthy because comfort zones are, in reality, probably not actually comfortable, and they keep us stunted. In those moments when we are shaken awake, we inevitably ask ourselves, “what then shall we do?”
The question is ingrained in our humanity. Luke writes about crowds seeking to come to terms with new revelation, using the same expression: “what then shall we do?” (Luke 3: 10). Even tax collectors and solders wondered (3: 12, 14), “what then shall we do?” And in his second book, he gives us a picture of an audience “cut to the heart” (Acts 2: 37), and asking Peter and the other disciples, “what then shall we do?”
Both Leo Tolstoy and Gar Alperovitz chose the question for their book titles to reflect on poverty and exploitation and new realities. It is fitting that we too, as we face new challenges, we constantly and conscientiously ask ourselves, “what then shall we do?”.
I say conscientious, deliberately. Conscientious is defined as “governed by conscience; controlled by or done according to one’s inner sense of what is right, and principled”. Perhaps we have travelled too long on a path lacking in those virtues but we need not stay on that path. If peace and joy are the desire of the human heart, we will only find them internally, not with external power.