Well last week’s debate was… something. Most of the reaction I have seen is between “Hillary Clinton is a liar and the debate was rigged” or “Donald Trump is the bane of all goodness America is and hopes to be.” Then there are the people who are arguing over who won and who lost, as if really anyone could win in a debate such as this (or any debate for that matter). When we compound that negativity with the recent revelations of police brutality in America (whether in Tulsa, Louisiana, and far too many to list), school and mall shootings in Seattle and Townville, SC, and continual news about violence, we are in a sticky situation.
In reality, “sticky situation” is a huge disservice to the problems that we face in our world. Divisions continue to bubble up to the surface through social media (Facebook), hatred spreads through characters that aren’t nearly enough to explain the whole picture (Twitter), AND we have organizations (read: denominations) that are tearing at the seams because we can’t quite agree on certain hot-button topics these days. Our world is a mess. We are living in some dark times; there is no denying that. Quite simply, people need help and I don’t think that any form of legislation is powerful enough to help with issues that are deeply embedded in all people.
But, obviously, as a Christian, I believe God’s transforming grace is still at work. However, my primary concern with this blog-post is in the manner in which Christian act in our world more than conversion. Once, I heard a sermon that had no hope at the end or within it. The argument was, “There is no hope in the [Scripture] text so there shouldn’t be hope in the sermon.” I disagree, then and now. Christians are a people of hope. This hope is born out of the Resurrection, the radical and transformational act when Jesus Christ was dead, God raised him back to life, and now that same Spirit of God lives inside of us. And so, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:
“Where, O Death, is your victory?
Where, O Death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
We have victory through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through this empowering claim, we become steadfast, immovable, and always excelling and striving for a reward that will last forever (1 Cor. 9:25). Further, Paul writes that Christians are a people of faith, hope, and love, which we are to live out in our lives (1 Cor 13).
I’m not trying sugar-coat the problems of world. They exist. There is hate, both conscious and subconscious. There is sin that affects us, which requires repentance. All the -isms exist in our world: racism, sexism, capitalism, relativism, universalism, and whatever else comes to mind. Yet, Christians are called by God to live under the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and to be assured that, no matter what, this is God’s world. For God has defeated Death and we have victory through our Lord.
I went to the gym early one morning and I don’t normally listen to Christian music while I work out (it’s not usually motivating or upbeat enough). But this morning, I switched to the Indelible Grace station and “My Father’s World” began to play. After all the reactions that followed a certain tragedy that, it offered me assurance that God was still King. Counter to how some of my colleagues have reacted, it reminded me that no matter the tragedies or evil that we face, this world still belongs to God. I hope that this offers you some assurance as we continue to live in God’s world.