Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora, Colorado. How Will the Church Respond?

It's a gut wrenching and tragic recurrence...once again the world wakes up to heart-breaking news, this time coming out of Aurora, Colorado. A gunman has walked into a crowded theater and wrought indescribable evil and unimaginable grief on a frighteningly large number of people. In one terrible moment, we are all reminded of the fragility of our lives and the darkness of the world we live in, a world where something as innocent and enjoyable as going to a movie can end in  catastrophe.

How will the church react?

Let me make a few predictions:

  • Someone will note some piece of legislation in Colorado/The USA that has brought wrath down on them/us. This event will be labeled as the result of a liberal/partisan/anti-Christian platform.
  • Some will drag out, once again, the ongoing accusation toward a culture that has kicked God out of schools and public places and then has the nerve to ask why He wasn't there to protect these suffering people. Those who roll this out will see it as helpful and informative.
  • Some will blame guns and violence on TV/video games/etc...others will even blame "The Dark Knight" and make some obscure reference to darkness and/or those who embrace it by frequenting this type of movie. Batman will become an evil accomplice.
  • There will be a few who will pronounce this as an act of judgment against modern culture. These folks will advocate a return to an less evil, more godly time, indicating that there was such a time...surely there must have been!
None of this will be helpful. None of it will advance the purpose of the gospel. None of it will answer the inevitable question of, "Why?"

The simple answer to this question is that we live in a fallen world, marked by evil, sin and depravity. Evil things happen because there is evil in the world.  

For the church, who knows this to be true, that awareness is not the answer. It never has been. The world needs an answer it can embrace, a tangible manifestation of the character and nature of God. It needs to reach out in love, in spite of the spiritual condition of the world. If we are not careful and humble, our self-righteous accusations can smack of judgment  that has nothing to do with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) nor the spreading of the gospel. Instead of passing judgment on hurting victims and levying Pharisaical accusations of ungodly conduct towards a grieving nation, I pray we can reach out in love, compassion and truth, holding the hands of those who grieve instead of slapping them on the wrists for not being more like us. 

How should the church respond? It should demonstrate grace, pray for the victims, pray for the gunman, pray for those who will never be the same again, pray for the world we live in, pray for those who are lost and looking for answers and pray for the Lord to return quickly. 

Meanwhile, we are the only vessels of grace and mercy some of these folks will ever see. May we be enabled and strengthened by Holy Spirit to be ever more efficient in becoming those vessels, pouring out His grace, love and mercy in the same measure we have received them, abundantly and without end.

Let's grieve with those who are grieving. Cry with those who  are weeping. And be a comfort to those who have no hope of comfort. (2 Cor 1). May God bless in the way He blesses most profoundly, in those times when darkness seems to overwhelm and evil seems to gain victory. "Light shines in the  darkness..."(John 1:5). "Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4). We are His light and His love and  strength are in us. May we shine brightly for His glory in an hour in which the world needs hope. comfort and the healing touch of our Father. 

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