I’m sure you’ve heard the running joke for these last few months about the year 2020 … it is a wink to all the bad things that have already happened and an eye roll about whatever is next. There was a moment a few weeks ago when I heard about “Murder Hornets” and I honestly laughed out loud because it feels like this year continues to go from bad to worse.
On a global, national and local scale this has already been a year full of unprecedented moments and a lot of pain for a lot of people.
And while we may grow fatigued from the bad news cycle, there is some pain in this year that is so important that we must not dismiss it as a “bad year” for planet earth.
We have to look at it and sit in it and decide what to do about it as God’s people.
Let me point out two of those pains:
- We humans are incredibly fragile.
The control that most of us long for is an illusion that can be shattered by a microscopic virus. And even if we feel zero fear personally about COVID-19 we have to come to terms with the ramifications of living in a society. If we live in community with others, then we must care for those who have reason to fear. And we have wrestle with what is best for all.
- Racial injustice happens in our country.
I’m aware that there are those who believe it doesn’t. (If that is you, I would love to have a conversation about this with you.) But I am convinced. I’ve seen it firsthand, and I’ve listened to the stories of people I trust. Injustice always persists. And injustice connected to race and ethnicity is a battle every generation must have the courage to see and fight.
Human fragility and racial injustice must not be dismissed as a bad year.
We must see these problems as “a calling to embrace” not “a bad year to weather.”
These problems will only ever be answered fully in the Kingdom of God. His eternal Kingdom that is indestructible and full of love and justice is what we all long for. His Kingdom that is advanced as the Holy Spirit works through churches just like ours.
Our fragility reminds us we don’t have much time on this earth.
Racial injustice reminds us that there is still much work for God to do here through us.
2020 is not a bad year, it is a wakeup call to the Church in America.
I fear we have been far too concerned with ourselves, and far less concerned with the flourishing of God’s Kingdom.
What 2020 needs is Kingdom People. People who are secure in Christ. And able to boldly declare a vision for God’s Kingdom come on earth like it is in heaven.
This is what we are at Pulpit Rock, and this is what we must be.
Once the Pharisees asked Jesus – when will the Kingdom come? And I think you can hear the doubt in their question. Like, will this Kingdom of love and justice and the favor of God really ever happen or is it just some spiritual fantasy?
And Jesus replied:
“The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17 – NIV)
There is a lot in that response to meditate on. But I think the obvious truth is that the Kingdom is already present. It is within us who follow Jesus. That is empowering! But it is also a high calling.
Pulpit Rock has always responded to that calling.
And here we are in 2020. A challenging year already. We are probably feeling frustrated with the state of our world. And we might be feeling the same skepticism of the Pharisees.
Is this Kingdom of love and justice really just a spiritual fantasy in the face of 2020?
May we hear the reassurance of our Savior. That his Kingdom is very real. And it is very present in our midst.
And may we take seriously the task, during our few years on this planet, of getting the Kingdom out of us and into the world.