Those of us who were members of the Jesus Revolution in the late ‘60s and early to mid ‘70s are now ourselves in our own 60s and 70s, as such beginning to, as the apostle Paul put it in his first letter to the churches in Corinth and Thessalonica respectively, fall asleep. Our baby boomer bodies are beginning to call us on the wear and tear they’ve been through in the past decades, and while we are not yet lions in winter, fall is definitely in the air.
We are beginning to know with ever increasing frequency the magic and loss of our brothers and sisters in Christ casting off their earthly form in favor of an immortal, incorruptible form in which we will together worship Christ throughout eternity. While this thought is our hope, the stabbing pain of those we love no longer being here with us serves as a reminder that we are still human, we are still alive, and we will endure suffering until our own day comes to rejoin those who have gone before us.
Once, we worshipped together. Again, we shall worship together. Today, we do our best, we who remain from our ever-compacting circle even as another grows more complete, to help carry each other through these strange and troubled days.
Many of us thought Christ would have returned by now, as we have seen tantalizing hints of prophecies requiring fulfillment before His Second Coming seemingly come to pass. However, His words remain true. No man knows the hour when the Son of Man shall return to the earth. Which does lead one to wonder: as bad as things are now, and Jesus is still holding back, how much worse will things become before He does return?
Not a few former evangelicals have, over the past couple of decades, grown very angry at God in general and former fellow evangelicals in particular over Christ not coming back when most all of us thought He would return in the 1970s or at the latest the 1980s. Their fury stems from having to have actually lived out their lives in lieu of God rapturing them off into the heavens, thus escaping any and all personal responsibility. Or so they think.
The fact is, from the moment any individual accepts Christ, this being at any time throughout history from the first apostles until today, Christ is not only Savior but Lord. It’s easy to walk what you think the walk is when you assume it’s all cotton candy dreams in a lollipop sky. It becomes much more difficult when you realize you do have responsibilities and the same rain does indeed fall on the just and the unjust, especially when it looks like the latter are the only group supplied with umbrellas.
It is far too easy to forget, knowing on the surface but not taking to heart, the depths of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross so that we, His creation, might be rejoined with Him. It is also far too easy to forget His sacrifice period, assuming all is well when all is not well, trusting in self when honest reflection reveals there is nothing in the self to trust.
We are all capable of loving grace and utter depravity aimed at others and ourselves. This is who we are. We are well advised to accept it.
Some words from the apostle Paul’s letter to Titus. Quite applicable in these times, methinks.
Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
But when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
Speaking for myself, these words remind me how I need to not only avoid whenever possible, without failing to declare or defend my views, fight with others over personal and political beliefs, but also avoid fighting with others about fighting with others over said beliefs. We all need to do our best to live in peace with others. When not possible? Time to let them walk away.