By: Jana Greene
“Judas (not Iscariot) said: ‘Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not the world?’ (in reference to ascending to heaven).
“Because it is a loveless world, “said Jesus. “A sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and the Father will love him – we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.” John 14:22-27 (MSG)
Over the past few weeks, I have felt like the world were falling apart. Losing hope, like Jesus is not welcome in many neighborhoods. As we are approaching a Presidential election, media coverage (largely unbalanced) is stepping up the mud-slinging and Americans are picking mud off the ground and hurling it at each other. Civil rights issues are at the forefront, and people and businesses with belief systems that have been practiced and adhered to for centuries are being sucked into the vortex under the guise of “civility”.
It is un-hip now to be a Christian, no matter which side of one particular debate that Christian might fall on. That’s the crazy thing – Christians as a whole are slowly but surely starting to be persecuted in America – not by bodily threat, but by that thing that Americans have long disdained: intolerance. A witch hunt for historically conservative people is still a witch hunt.
There is even a movement to make “all religion illegal”. It is still a small and restless, largely underground phenomenon, but I can assure you, it exists. I have seen the evidence with my own eyes, in my own town. The frightening thing is that such a thing doesn’t seem out of the realm of reality these days.
Allow me to describe the current government trajectory as I see it with my earthly eyes: It is growing into a massive, monstrous machine that sucks the civil liberties of the masses into a grinder in the name of its own twisted definition of the ‘greater good’. In the end of digestion, this ravenous machine – having gorged on the constitutional sacrifices of Americans, craps out a tiny brick of pseudo-rights for a small segment of society. That’s positively un-American. And yes, that’s my opinion.
So far as I know, we are all still entitled to have one. But leaning too much on my passionate opinions and too little on my faith doesn’t usually go well.
Everyone seems angry with everyone else right now, myself included. I hate that feeling, that angst. Because it comes from a place of fear. I need to take a step back and breathe, and give my earthly eyes a rest.
It seems to be American against American, in chat rooms, on blog pages, on Facebook, even in our homes, our neighborhoods. It is so easy to get focused on the manifestations of evil all around – the horrors that took place in a movie theater in Colorado, the epidemic of human trafficking – which takes in our own country! The distractions of feeling politically passionate because of movements and issues, and freaking out with fear about the possibilities. The longing for justice, because it is so out of whack. I get so wrapped up in my emotional frustrations with the entire world, which are largely out of my control, that I forget that none of it is a surprise to my God. I forget that He himself said that it is a loveless world, and that even when it feels completely out of control, He did not leave us all here stranded.
“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you,” Jesus continues in the verse. ” The Friend, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. he will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole (on earth) – that’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left – feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
Distraught doesn’t even begin to TOUCH how I’ve been feeling lately. But that’s what happens when you look around the world for peace, instead of exclusively within – where He has placed it. Within, where He gives us The Friend, who in turn fills us up so that we can love on a loveless world. The Friend, to guide us through a sightless world. Hearing the message of the Father, who IS love, instead of talking heads on the news, and instead of the voices of hatred.
Because I will worship God on my knees forever and ever, and no law can stop me. The government didn’t give me the right to pray and worship and it cannot take that right away. It is a right endowed by my Creator, who will is not subject to the rules of man, and who gives a peace that passes understanding to ALL who ask for His redemption. There is also a lot of beauty still in the world. Because the Holy Spirit is still on this planet and within us, there is still majesty, purity, grace, hospitality, and love – so much love. God fills all of us imperfect, cracked vessels with his love in order to love on a world that is falling apart. My hope is in Jesus.
Amen and God Bless America!