Christmas is coming! All I want for Christmas is for 2020 to be over. How about you?
2020 may be the year of division. There is no question that the country is divided. While 2016 was certainly divisive, it is almost nothing to today. As much as many may blame the president, a political party other than theirs, any politician, the media, and whomever else they want to…the divisions all our rooted in our sin.
In many respects, this may be a blessing in disguise. For too many years, any form of conflict or disagreement has been shoved into the dark corners. It wasn’t that long ago that “safe places” were a thing. The beauty of these days is the reality that there is no “safe space” where we won’t hear something that conflicts with our beliefs.
How we disagree, however, is certainly an issue. Many church folks are no longer conversing on issues. They just attack and/or shut down. We have lost the ability to argue well and with love.
The church is in the middle of a very painful transformation. This isn’t just the incorporation of digital into its heart (rather than as a side project), it is the racial, political, health (COVID), and economic strain that is occurring throughout the world. These concerns are forcing the church to confront itself with the many things it has done and hasn’t done.
At this point in the church’s circle are prophetic voices of varying kinds. Many are not appreciated or even listened to (just like the Old Testament prophets).
Jeremiah was given a message by God. He mourns his birth as the people scorn and hate him even though he did nothing against them. He only spoke God’s words.
Jeremiah certainly was not popular. He was rightly regarded as a prophet. It was just that the words didn’t fit their desires.
This really hasn’t changed. Jesus’ warning to his disciples was straight forward. They weren’t going to be liked. Their choice to follow Jesus may cause them to lose family and friends.
Families divided because someone follows Jesus. What happens when families and other relationships are divided because they have different understandings of what it means to follow Jesus? That’s the question for this age.
It used to be one or two issues that divided the church. Now, there are many. Perhaps it is the language we use when we disagree. Perhaps our language is too rigid. Perhaps our hearts are too hard.
Jesus formed a new family that transcended the earthly bonds. In Jesus’ day, it was the blood of the family. After his resurrection, it was the division that separated Jew from Gentile. Today it is politics, race, abortion, the military, the appropriate place of patriotism, protest, COVID, healthcare, the environment, and so many other issues.
“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” The will of the Father? Love the Lord your God with all your body, soul, mind, and strength; love your neighbor as yourself.
Heavenly Father, help us do your will that we would be fully functioning members of your family. Amen.
1) How are you doing talking to others on issues with which you disagree? Do you filter your values through the will of the Father?
2) What forms do prophetic voices take today? Is there any particular form you would automatically ignore?
3) What are the current issues that prophetic voices are discussion that make you uncomfortable? Why does that make you uncomfortable?