I have been thinking about this a lot in light what happened in San Bernardino. I know this is a sticky topic for people. I respect the opinion and feelings of others, and recognize we all fall somewhere differently on this heated and heavily debated spectrum. This is just my feeling and observation on all this right now.
The LAUSD closed their doors today due to bomb threats made on schools for the safety and security of the children as a precautionary measure. While this ended up being a hoax, it provides a glimpse of the climate our culture is in, especially in the aftermath of the recent attack in San Bernardino.
We as a nation collectively observed an outcry that arose about the lack of action from politicians on while saying, "God isn't fixing this". A change in the tide of the response of people came out with the sentiment of, “We are sick of it. Sick of no change. Sick of words with no actions.” The Daily News wrote, "Prayers aren't working." Others wrote that this is due to the U.S. taking God out of schools, a sentiment I find only causing more of a divide. This isn't about that. First off, the world has always been a place housing atrocity and evil. I heard that in the history of humanity, collectively there is only 35 total years of no war. We are always at war. The bad has run rampant since the beginning of time. It's not going to get better. In our current societal climate, we do need change, and we need to use wisdom in the midst of crisis while taking action and implementing reform. However, we also need Jesus.
We are in the midst of celebrating the Christmas season which beckons to the coming of the Messiah over 2,000 years ago during a time of great governmental unrest and oppression. People expected the Messiah to fix their broken world and their government. They didn’t expect the Messiah that they got-The Savior who came. They didn’t expect this Savior would be their Immanuel, God with us, and not come for the change in politics, but rather, he’d come for the souls of people. He was (and is), the revolutionary Jesus. He did things backwards, and mixed up the order in which they knew. He reversed injustice starting by the inequalities and petty judgments in which people are so prone to pass on others and in which society adheres to. Did this stop the Romans from nailing him to the cross? Did it stop Christian persecution in Athens in sacrificing them to animals for the entertainment of others, or any of the abundant other horrible things that happen? No. Sin and evil happen everywhere, all the time. But God is good and sovereign regardless. We are living in a time of evil that threatens our homes and our children. This is no time to turn away from prayer or from the God who knows no beginning or end. This is the time to position yourselves towards Christ and pray for our people, pray for our country, fervently.
It is tiring that politicians offer posh answers about prayer and thoughts. We do need change and action. But above all else in the midst of that, we need Jesus now and always. In the Old Testament when people grieved, they tore their cloths and spread ashes on their faces. They fasted for days and weeks in prayer. They waited in expectation for God to move. It seems more than offering “prayers and thoughts” for families lost. I am not saying people need to do what folks in the OT did, but what I am saying is that perhaps we ought to position ourselves before Christ in a serious, heavy hearted manner, seeking prayer for our country and the people of the world. I can tell you that I have not done any such version of this. I pray, yes. But do I really disturb my life in any way to take this up before the cross? No.
No matter what, bad things happen, and God is mighty. This isn't a time to step away from the Creator. It's a time to draw near in expectation, while also making efforts to be educated on what happens in the world. Do we need reform and should we expect this from a political leader? Yes, absolutely. Do we need Jesus? Even more so, yes.
See, the words of common Christmas carols ring true to this day. May we remember the Savior who came. May we remember him now, more than ever.
O holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
...Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.