Dear Family of Faith,
My prayer time this week has been full of questions about our society. Asking the Lord, why do I take as eternal so much of what has no real significance and then cast aside so easily that which is for all eternity? For instance, my comfort and self controlled happiness. Because of the Gospel I am content in Christ alone but I live as though my comfort is all that matters and is in my hands. The True and Real comfort of spending time with Jesus is passed over for the need to control my surroundings.
I am in Panama City watching the BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico creep closer and closer to the beaches of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Soon the brown goo will wreck them. Since I’m on those beaches resting, this is a discomfort. It is actually a terrible accident and everyone here is working hard to help the leaders of BP and our government clean it up. There is a spirit of let’s do this ourselves by the people on the waterfronts and I get that. I’m a Nashvillian and watched this spirit during our recent flood. In fact, the best of my faith says get out there and help. As I’ve prayed it seems my anger towards those responsible is really more about me than the Creation the spill is contaminating. I forget that it is the God of Creation who is in charge and it is against the Lord and His Creation that we all have sinned.
So, as I’ve prayed for the authority structures we live under and the future of Jesus’ Church interestingly the answers to my prayers coincided with a new biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer that I just finished. As you know the brilliant German Theologian died defending Christ’s Church (and Bonhoeffer’s homeland) from the wrath of Adolph Hitler and was actually executed just before the Allies liberated the German concentration camp where he was being held. He was a true pacifist and his death sentence was ironically pronounced for the part he played in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer believed that the Church is to respect the authority above us because God raised them up and can bring them down. He also taught that the Church should take care of all those the Government hurts, the oppressed. Only if the Government or authority is out to destroy God and His Church would Bonhoeffer justify a more rigorous civil disobedience or a violent overthrow. Very much like the Founding Fathers of the USA.
As we pray for the future and what God is doing through us to transform lives, this much is certain. We are to work with our leaders and care for the poor. Please pray about how our lives change because we’ve been Worshipping the Lord on Sunday and caring for each other through the week and therefore can more clearly see the needs around us that Jesus is using us to meet! The Gospel is not about being aggressive where we are tempted to leave the Lord behind to do it ourselves and it is not about being passive taking our hands off the architecture of change believing if God wants the grass cut He’ll do it. No, for us it is a third way. To trust in Jesus who is in control and to go and do whatever He calls us to. In the midst of a crazy world we are the crazy people who are in it but just not of it. His Cross is the evidence of the new way to live. We go where He’s going, to work in His fields, all by faith…
Storming the beaches, oil or no oil,