I think many of us would like to hit the reset button on 2020. Chaos, vicious partisan politicians, political correctness, people destroying things that they do not own (anarchy), bipartisan narcissism and (not to be forgotten) that little pandemic, have all caused our world to be changed. We need a reset button, but who is worthy to push it?
Yesterday our praise team sang He Is Worthy, which tells the story of the lamb (by the way, even God isn't embarrassed to refer to Himself as a sheep) who is worthy of opening the scroll in heaven (Revelation, Chapter 5). The song is moving and beautiful. The words from Revelation reminded me of something that needed to reset in my brain, so I write the words below more as an essay than my usual blog. I hope you will be patient with me!
First, on the eve of our nation's birthday, I believe we do need a reset, but who is worthy of hitting that button? Not arrogant politicians who use every calamity for their political leverage to further divide us. Not people who try to use the mask issue to divide even the church. Not angry mobs who just want to destroy and be angry. Not wanna-be statesmen who use angry words and call them 'passion' to get our attention. I believe that there is only one chosen, ordained, worthy entity that can push that little button. That entity is the Church ... the same church that many are co-opting for their shallow political purposes. Let's not allow that to happen! Let's be worthy of hitting that button in the name of the lamb who is worthy of opening the scroll!
Second (and I am hoping to shear the sheep here ... not slaughter them) I think there is a way we can enact this reset. I plan to try this plan on Wednesday and Sunday as we do something very traditional to reset our anger, redirect real passion toward good things, rethink our idea of what Church ought to be, and restore our love for one another ... all of us! That plan will be simple ... we will remember the sacrifice of that worthy lamb from Revelation, and we will re-say that liturgy that brings us down off our high horses and onto our knees. We will remember the mystery of faith ... "Christ has died ... Christ has risen ... Christ will come again." We will remember the one who gave us great advice when he said ... "Remember me!" We will think of the night he took bread, broke it and gave it to all the people in the room. We will reflect on Jesus taking the cup and offering a new covenant of His blood, poured out for all of the misbehaving sheep ... for forgiveness and the grace God offers us (even me!). We will commune with people who come in submission to a God smarter, higher and more forgiving that we ever deserve. We will ask God to lead us to be worthy of His trust as we follow the Good Shepherd to a place our souls can be restored.
Finally, I will pray for some things to happen that will enact our acceptance of this great responsibility to be the agents of resetting us back on the path of God's Great Purpose (Exodus 19) ... "to bring us to Himself." We are the Christ-followers that can lead here! So many are asking why government can't get a handle on the chaos, the pandemic, the fighting within and without our great country? They ask why their lives are filled with anger against even those fellow Christians who are more or less cautious in these times? Then ... I remember Jesus' love, grace and power that can and (if we allow it) will bring us to our knees in unity and purpose. That Jesus is the God of the preaching martyr Stephen who gave his life for his faith ... the God of the arrogant Saul who sat blind and stunned at God's accusation that Saul was persecuting God and God's Church ... the God of cautious Ananias of Damascus (part of the scattered Church that hid for awhile and wanted nothing to do with Saul) ... the God of John Riley, Randy Greene, Billy Graham, Martin Luther King, and even those nasty Democrats and Republicans.
Who is worthy of hitting that reset button and calling each of us to accountability for how childishly we have behaved during this time? The Lamb, through the Church that He has given authority and power and His Spirit. Let's all ask forgiveness. Let's all claim grace. Let's all share the beauty of these gifts with a nation who asks God to "shed His grace on thee!" Let's follow the commission to take Jesus' message everywhere. Let's not forget God's overreaching purpose to bring us all "to Himself." AMEN