In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)
It’s dark out there. Selfishness, idolatry, materialism, hedonism, discrimination, unfairness, injustice, apathy, abuse, murder, vengeance, protesting, rioting, looting, vandalism, arrogance, apathy, godlessness, immorality, relativism, folly, incompetence, division, and hopelessness abound. In addition, physical disease, emotional fear, and financial recession are spreading like wildfire. Atop all this, the cultural and political divide is getting wider and deeper. Yes, it’s getting dark out there in the land that we love.
However, it is good that there is so much darkness.
No, I did not say the darkness is good.
And yes, I am aware this is not so good for our beloved nation and our international supremacy.
And yes, I know our individual health, wealth, prosperity, and American Dream could take a huge hit.
And yes, I hate that our current chaos might prove to be disastrous for our country, citizens, children, and grandchildren we love.
However, I will say it again …
It is good that there is so much darkness.
Now, in the midst of our sinful and sorrowful situation, why make such a bold statement? Well, our scriptures instruct us. They teach us to look at things through the transcultural eyes of God, and this is what we learn:
- Christ — our All-seeing, All-knowing, All-wise, All-present, and All-powerful King — is working all things out in accordance with his will.
- Christ is removing his common grace and restraining hand
- Christ is exposing the malice of Satan, wickedness of men, and consequences of sin
- Christ is casting down idols and proving they neither save nor satisfy
- Christ is contrasting his wisdom with man’s foolishness
- Christ is differentiating between religious interest and divine relationships
- Christ is highlighting the love and fellowship enjoyed by his church family
- Christ is causing his church to look countercultural, beautiful, and bright
- Christ is using the dark chaos to make our neighbors hungry and thirsty
- Christ is deconstructing America while constructing his kingdom
- Christ is raining on our personal parade while growing his harvest
- Christ is multiplying eternal disciples in the dark
- Christ has been here before
- Christ has won the day before
- Christ will have his reward
- Christ will reap his harvest of souls
- Christ will build his church
- Christ’s enemies have no chance of prevailing; the darkness cannot overcome it
- Christ’s kingdom is forever
Therefore, recognizing these truths in these divinely ordained dark days, let us meditate and consider how to worship.
First, let us not slander our Lord by believing things are out of his control. There is no need for us to belittle his sovereignty. There is no reason to wallow in hopeless depression.
Second, let us not whine, grumble, or complain. He is the one who gives and takes away. He always does what is best for his glory, kingdom, and people. As his disciples, this is what we desire most. Through Christ’s Spirit, our prayer should be, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Third, let us not sin against God and neighbor by being distant, selfish, isolated, disinterested, apathetic, or unloving. As citizens, it is good worship to pray for our nation protest unrighteousness, and politic well. As worshiping citizens, it is right that we love God and our neighbors by pursuing the best possible political state that upholds freedom, righteousness, justice, law, order, equity, and opportunity for all. It is then right to repent and use God’s money, God’s voice, God’s power, God’s privilege, and God’s vote to love those made in God’s image and promote the King’s values in this “one nation under God.” Yes friends, it is good worship to be a good citizen and neighbor. Our brother’s business is our business. We are to be passionately interested in those being harmed by individuals, groups, and governments. Yes, as individual worshipers, let us pray for, pay for, vote for, and promote political reform.
Fourth, as collective churchmen, let us worship, pray for, and prioritize the Kingdom of God. Let us and our churches be most known as those who “seek first his kingdom.” Let us be known most as those who wish to multiply disciples. May our church family be known as those who promote God’s Law and God’s Gospel and rise above partisan politics. May we love, converse, preach, teach, and fellowship in such a way that Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Socialists, Communists, Capitalists, and Anarchists are all pointed to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. Let us see the darkness, understand the Light is allowing the darkness, make the most of the darkness, and point people to the Light in the midst of the darkness. The Great Commission is our Cultural Mandate … Not “Hope and Change,” “Make America Great Again,” “Keep America Great Again,” or “Transition to Greatness.” Yes, Christian friends, even though we desire to safeguard our freedoms, enjoy our prosperity, love our children, see political reform, and honor our country, let us lust most after personal regeneration and ecclesiastical revival, and let us be even busier protesting sin, showing grace, preaching grace, evangelizing neighbors, building disciples, growing Christ-honoring families, and watching Christ grow his church.
If Christ so choose to allow us incredible success in these areas, political reform will be a necessary and beautiful consequence.