By Joel A. Hess –
Surely, this 4th of July has been one of saddest for me. It’s hard to get excited about the freedoms our country was founded upon as they are speedily being stolen from us by the current administration, aristocratic courts, and big businesses. The current forced cultural revolution looks exactly like the one imposed by the Chinese tyrant Mao Zedong. Leaders who come in the name of progress almost always leave the people they say they are helping dead.
As an American, I am certainly distressed to see fundamental freedoms being restricted and even outlawed. Freedom of speech and freedom to practice one’s religion are freedoms to be practiced in public not just private settings!
As a Christian and shepherd of God’s people, I should be frightened, I suppose. I should wonder if I’ll have a job 20 years from now. I should be afraid of the Church’s future. But I’m not at all!
Christ’s Church doesn’t need the government in any way! She doesn’t need tax exemption. She doesn’t need to be legal. She doesn’t need a law that guarantees the freedom of speech or the freedom to practice the faith.
After all, the very head of the body, Jesus Christ, was executed by the government. That very execution is what we celebrate today! God used the worst of our sin to become the salvation of the world! So why would Christians be afraid of antagonistic governors?
The Church grew as the culture and governing authorities continually harassed it. She grew, and she wasn’t full of dismal unpleasant complaining people. Instead, Christianity was quite alive, full of people living out the faith in hope in Christ with smiles on their faces. Great thinkers and leaders not only shepherded the Church but contributed magnificent works of literature, even in the midst of suffering. The Church thrived both in members and activity.
I foresee that the United States of America will not be around 100 years from now. It will either break down like Rome or become something unrecognizable from what it once was. Quite frankly, I see Western society falling into chaos, as it is unable to hold order because it is unable to agree on any sort of truth! Christianity is not what is suffering in America, not at all. Reason, logic, and even modern science are what suffers. As in the fall of Rome, the Church may be the only form of organization left to offer stability in society.
Regardless, the Church will not only be around, but it will be alive and well until the Day of the Lord. That’s a promise! The Word will be preached, calling people to repentance and showering them with forgiveness. The Lord’s body and blood will be joyfully dispersed to sorrowful hearts, casting away fears and shame. People from all walks of life will be dying and rising in the waters of Baptism, joining the Son of God and all the saints.
As an American, I’m pretty negative about the future. As a Christian, I’m quite pumped!