Pastor’s Perspective – June 2023
Every day we see stories in our local and international news that we simply cannot understand. Stories about broken lives, communities that are collapsing, school systems that are being destroyed from the inside out, and cities overrun by the homeless and the drug addicted. Our children are going to school in fear of a mass shooter and our urban youth are dying one gunshot at a time. While this is being broadcast every day on the news, our elderly people are living lives of loneliness that have become conditions of supervised neglect and abuse.
What can we do about these things? We shake our heads. We are often infuriated by what we see, but we don’t know what to do. The motivated amongst us go to political rallies. We protest, we scream, we cheer on myopic and megalomaniacal politicians. We voice our anger, protest our fury, and send our money to interest groups on the right and left, but nothing changes. It only gets worse.
Jesus walked in a corrupt world over 2000 years ago. He wept tears over His holy city of Jerusalem, a city that had rejected God and God’s laws. He wept tears because the work that God had intended Jerusalem to engage in, had failed due to disobedience and neglect. Jerusalem had become a city like every other city. They ignored the poor, they banished the sick, they abused the widow, and they cursed the orphan. They only cared that their lives were blessed and safe.
Nothing has changed.
Like Judas we curse the gospel work of Jesus while using the plight of the poor to cover our own mischief and selfishness. Like the Zealots we seek a change in government to fix the inequities in the system. Like the Temple leadership we seek special privileges for our Churches amid the rapid decline of our neighborhoods and neighbors. Like the Roman soldiers we protect our own interests and abuse our authority and power.
We want to find practical solutions, so we get in bed with politicians, we make deals with parties, we try to gather enough voices to force the powerful to change how they spend their money and use their power, but nothing…ever…changes.
I write this with Pentecost on the horizon. Pentecost was the day when the Church stopped looking for solutions from the world and became spiritually aware that they were the solution that God had sent. When filled by the Holy Spirit, the Church become Jesus to the world. The difference makers were those who were filled by the Holy Spirit, covered by the blood of Jesus, and sent by the authority of the Father.
They sold their properties as Barnabas did. They shared their wealth. They preached the gospel. They cared for the widows and the orphans, and they transformed the city of Jerusalem, and the world.
The people of God have a choice today. We can get angry and try to flex our political muscle. Or we can get busy, join our hearts, congregations, and resources, and start remodeling our world. If we work together, we can create schools and safe places for young people to learn. We can create clinics and medical centers, halfway houses, prison reform centers, nursing homes for the old, and places where criminals can find redemption, addicts can find relief, and sinners, restoration.
I don’t have a road map for how to do it, but I know that it must be done. So, I’m asking you to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and if you feel led, contact me at First Baptist Church. Let’s figure out what we can do together. What is already being done, and what God is calling us to do.
I’m tired of watching the world on fire. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of thinking that nothing can be done. If you’re tired of this as well. Let’s talk. Let’s pray. Let’s gather. Let’s work together so that the gospel of Jesus Christ in its full form can bring the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
Pray with me. Work as the body of Christ. Follow Jesus.