By Joel A. Hess –
Buckle up—here we go. Into the dark ages, fast or slow. Agreed upon sources of authority for right and wrong, truth, meaning, and purpose are disintegrating exponentially. When absolutes and meaning disappear, words become everything, yet nothing, like the Sophists suggested long ago, and as we are witnessing now. Unfortunately, the power of rhetoric only goes so far without a correlating reality. Soon we will see what happens when neither reason nor words are allowed to persuade a people. Instead, might will make right. Mark my words. This is how it always goes!
Yeats prophesied perfectly in his poem The Second Coming:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yet, in the chaos, she will stand even sturdier. In the darkness, she will become more visible. Amidst confusion, she will offer order—not like a tyrant but like a wounded savior, not like an army but like a nurse with a table set before the enemies. Who is she? She is the Church: the body of Christ, the body of the Way, the Truth and the Life. No matter the rocky seas, her captain is the Lord!
So get ready, Church of God. There’s no time for wishy washy emotional pleas and no more time for mamby-pamby, feel good sermons. There’s no more time for beating around the bush. The world is full of these things. It’s swirling with these things. It doesn’t need more of these things. It needs certainty! It needs a yes and no! It needs a bloodied God and a resurrected man!
Let us not become frazzled and frustrated like parents being dragged down into their toddler’s tantrums. Let us not talk and act like those who think everything depends on this or that. Let us not wave our hands as if everything is falling apart; wouldn’t it be good if we went back to the good ole days? It’s ok!
Let us speak strong words gently. To the angry: return words of love. To the despondent: reply with hope. To the violent: turn the other cheek. For we live in a reality far bigger than the ups and downs of this temporary saga. We live in a reality in which sins are forgiven and dead men rise! So, with our Savior’s words, let us be islands of tranquility and lighthouses of hope. Jesus is in the boat, after all!
Our neighbors need us to remain calm. Our enemies need us to keep looking forward. Our communities need our peace, our rest, our Jesus. He is in the boat, after all!