I carried a Word in my heart all day yesterday. A Word which headlined a meditation I read during my #earlymorningdevotions. And shared it with many people: ” I know where you live – where Satan has his throne i.e. a broken world. Said Jesus through John in Revelation 2:3 to the church in Perganum.
Fast forward from AD 81 -96 to the present age, and the profound words of comfort, and promise, and don’t leave out the warning ( do not compromise). And hear Jesus speaking to our real struggles.
Politics and Christianity
I know where you live – where there is a ‘ sick’ building at Cornwall Regional Hospital. And while Health Minister Dr. ( Phd) Christopher Tufton, and Opposition spokesman on Health, Dr. (MD) Dayton Campbell, engage in a very public discussion about a difficult policy decision, ” to close or not to close” the hospital, poor and marginalized people living in a broken world of sickness, caused by one thing or another, anxiously await the ‘ resuscitation ‘ of this important institution. While questions of benign neglect or blatant mismanagement hang over the head of successive admistrations! And whether or not if such a situation had impacted the lives of the rich and the famous, would it have been allowed to ‘fester’ like this? A challenge for all politicians, especially Christians, as how does one serve effectively in an organization, which has the power if elected, to profoundly impact the lives of Franz Fannon’s ‘ the wretched of the earth’. And be faithful to the God of Jacob!
Righteousness and Justice
I know where you live – where young boys and girls are being sexually abused. Leaving them emotionally and physically scarred for life. And where a passionate young, self-confessed Christian legislator, Lisa Hanna, recently married, and herself a mother, is calling for ‘ parity’ in how the law treats with the act of buggery – ten years imprisonment, and the act of rape – 15 years to life. And her solution, and that of the human rights lobbyists, is to change the law and categorize both abuses as rape. In direct opposition to the Christian group of lawyers well versed in matters like this, and whose views I respect, vis a vis, those who would label them ” fringe and ultraconservative”. And whose long standing and well documented position, is that any such action by the Parliament would open the gates for the repeal of the buggery law. An extremely contentious issue in Jamaica, and internationally, where ‘ pressure ‘ is being applied to equate the Biblical sin of homosexuality with God of the Jacob’s anointing of ‘ male and female ‘ relationships. MP Hanna et al, are apparently unimpressed with any such arguments and have tried to frame the issues in black and white, while ‘ Kodak’ issues abound. And with the Biblical call for Righteousness and Justice to cohabit, have parity, in the lives and hearts of all who claim Christ! Hopefully, she and all of us, who are on a journey with Him who died on the Cross to conquer Sin, and Death and Evil, will find the right balance between seeking Righteousness and promoting Justice on this very ‘ live’ issue.
Justice and Righteousness
I know where you live – where according to the Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman islands, giving his annual Synod charge, was quoted in the Daily Gleaner calling for Justice for Workers in the prevailing climate. Contextualized within the call for all Anglicans to become ” Intentional Disciples of Christ”, and how that call plays out in a time when ” love for mammom” trumps everything.
“When we think of the breakdown of morality in the society, we tend to be very selective in who and what we identify as typifying such moral failure. It does not only reside in the lower echelons of society, but it sits at the top of our society where we can find philosophical and economic reasons to justify such actions, and so our most profitable institutions can cease to employ persons who can enjoy basic terms and securities which have characterized civilised society as we have become prisoners of mammon. So employees must be on renewable contracts with no health insurance, no pension benefits, no leave facility, and no job security while profits soar, management makes excessive salaries and shareholders enjoy bumper dividends. “
A Bishop who is clearly cognizant that in the ‘ economy ‘ of the God of Jacob, Righteousness, and Justice ‘ kiss’ each other. As declared by the Prophet Isaiah, and exemplified in the life of the late Martin Luther king Jr.
The challenge we face as Christians, is not the Road March which will take place in city Kingston tomorrow, as the revellers ” get on baad again “, but the more fundamental issue, that we, the children of God, are in a great battle with the forces of evil. And many are blissfully unaware!
Perhaps this is why I was inspired to post this challenging message from noted theologian John Stott this week.
Theologian John Stott writing in 1984:
Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today.
” If the house is dark when night falls, there is no point in blaming the house, for that is what happens when the sun goes down.
The question is ” Where is the light”?
If the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no point in blaming the meat, for that happens when bacteria are left alone to breed.
The question to ask is, ” Where is the salt?”.
Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline, till it becomes like dark night or stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society, for that it what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked.
The question to ask is ” Where is the church?”. Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?
It is sheer hypocrisy on our part to raise our eyebrows and shrug our shoulders or wring our hands. The Lord Jesus told us to be the world’s salt and light. If therefore darkness and rottenness abound, it is our fault and we must accept the blame.”
Finally, the first two paragraphs of the meditation sum up our dilemma, and challenge and warning, living in a broken world. And provides a bookend to this message.
NO COMPROMISE – Chris Tiegreen. ” The One Year Wonder of The Cross Devotional book “.
I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Revelation 2:3
Jesus’ words to the church at Perganum could have been spoken to any one of us. We may not live where ‘ Satan’s throne’ is, but we live in territory that is heavily under his influence. No matter how many churches we have on the street corners of our communities, our culture is saturated with the philosophies of this world and the deceptions of our enemy. Until we are in heaven, we are living in a war zone.
It’s comforting to know that Jesus is aware of where we are ( that was the key message I held on to yesterday as I considered the plight of friends battling cancer, and grieving over the loss of loved ones, patients dealing with problem children, and the reasons for #ZOSO and #StateofEmergency) and that He will affirm us for remaining true to His name, as He did with the believers in Perganum.
It isn’t easy to stubbornly insist on our identity in Him when the culture is trying to pull us in every other direction. We find pretty quickly that
we can’t live the Christian life on cruise control; it’s a constant choice and constant focus on who we are in Him. It requires a certain degree of stubbornness to swim upstream…..”
No wonder we are told that after Easter comes, not Mother’s Day, not Labour Day, not Independence, but Good Friday. All over again! For in this life, we are called to ‘ deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow Christ’. Into battle against Satan! Wherever he raises his ugly head: Trampling down Justice, and throwing Righteousness through the window!