I’m still reeling from the Alabama election. I was elated when Alabama citizen's didn’t elect a racist man accused of pedophilia as senator. However, when I realized the sheer number of Christians who voted for Roy Moore, my elation was quickly dampened.
The bride of Christ is supposed to be the healing balm in our world. The church is called to usher Jesus’ kingdom here.
However, Christians aren’t viewed as bringing good news. Some of the church screams against abortion, while allowing the children’s health insurance program to go unfunded, leaving children without much needed resources to survive. Outcry over religious persecution can be heard, while Christian politicians persecute Muslims. The Evangelical community largely ignores the deaths of our black brothers and sisters and has become deaf to the cries of the immigrants at our door.
The bride of Christ has forgotten our mandate to be the healing source of the world, the hands of feet of Jesus.
While, the country was wringing its hands about the partisan politics, fires blazed through California. Throughout the world, we are hurting. Hatred isn’t just fueled in Alabama, but white supremacy has left its ugly stain on our world. Food deserts have created large populations who do not have access to fresh food. Famine and disease plague all of Yemen, as war rages in the Arab Peninsula. Looming over all of this is the ever-growing threat of nuclear war with North Korea. The world is hurting. And yet, my heart isn’t expectant that the answers lie with a baby laying in a manger.
All of this is happening in the second week of Advent, whose lights illuminates that our hearts are not ready for the coming of Christ.
When chaos hits, I don’t turn expectantly towards Jesus and pray, “God let your kingdom come.” The babe lying in a manger rarely gives me hope. My heart is not open to the miracle of Christ, because I have put my hope in my own ability and in the ability of worldly structures.
The church mimics my trust in worldly structures. We aren’t ready for Jesus to come, because we are so consumed with our own politics that we forget to look towards God. We aren’t a healing force for Jesus, because we try to heal the world with our own ability, stained with our own sin. Our world is hurting and the bride of Christ, can’t help, because we aren’t expectantly preparing for Christ.
I am not advocating for Christians to sit on the sidelines. Jesus’ love for us compels us to act. However, our action must flow from out of our faith that Jesus is coming. That his kingdom is coming. And that he will wipe every tear form our eyes.
We aren’t God’s hands and feet, because we are too busy trying to be our own salvation. Both democrats and republican Christians are trying to find answers in their own ability. As a community we have put our hope in people, who according to Isaiah, “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah words remind us that humans fail. But, he goes on to say, “Here is your God!” See the sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm.” Isaiah’s words remind us that our faith is not in the empty promises of man, but the everlasting glory of the LORD.
We aren’t God’s hands and feet because we are trying to be the answers, rather than ushering in the King and allowing the King to bring about the good news he promised. Instead of doing, we need to “prepare the way for the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” We need to turn expectantly towards a babe in a manager and pray for his kingdom to come.
As a doer, I hate this. I want to find the solution to racism and implement it so that we will no longer have police shootings. I want to pass out food to everyone. I want to create forms of government that really do bring about peace and justice. I want to do. But my desire for doing, causes my heart to not be ready for the miracle of Christmas.
Unfortunately, as I write this, I don’t feel a sense of closure. My heart still longs for us to do better. But I wonder if starting to do better, means starting by preparing our hearts for the coming of a King. I wonder if opening up our heart to the miracle that the King will and can bring good news is a good place to start. I wonder if it starts with praying,
“Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Thine only-begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve Thee with purified minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.”