Hearing the phrase ‘we live in uncertain times’ is nothing new in recent days. People use it to refer to the current political climate, particularly post general election, and everything else that comes with it.
Where do you go to hear the latest news of the local area and the world? Perhaps BBC, the Guardian, or the Gazette? For me, our local Jacuzzi is the place. It’s there where I get to hear news and discussions on topics ranging from cooking to world politics. On Tuesday evening, I went to the gym (and of course, you know by that I mean Jacuzzi), and two minutes later, I found myself involved in a discussion around politics with a young student and an older person. I won’t bore you with the detail of our conversation, but one thing we all had in common (and I’m not sure if the other two guys would admit to it) was that we were all somewhat politically homeless and confused, feeling like there had been a lot of contradiction in the debates.
Up until recent years, many Christians would have painted a picture of Jesus who is apolitical and tries his best to avoid political engagements. This can’t be further from the truth. How can you love your neighbour if you’re unwilling to play your part in shaping policies around serving the poor? How are you going to live out Isaiah 61 if you’re not concerned for the oppressed, marginalised, and the prisoner? How can you make sure the legacy of God is passed on to other disciples if you fail to see the importance of living in a society that allows you to preach the Gospel freely (or at least for the time being)?
I have always been troubled by extremism (except when it’s for Jesus, but we won’t go into that), yet I’ve come to realise that it has a twin, and it’s called ‘liberal inconsistency’. Although they may manifest themselves in different shapes and forms, unfortunately, the latter has found its way to the Church, and the Western Church seems to be a good host for its growth. What I mean by ‘liberal inconsistency’ is that people believe things that they won’t necessarily stand up for, or even agree with things that they don’t really agree with. They see it as about giving the ‘right’ answer, rather than what is believed to be right. Political correctness doesn’t help with it either and peer pressure is another factor that helps feed its growth. But we need to remember that what we do in our secret place may be hidden from the eyes of our friends, brothers and sisters, or even our spouse, but the one who has created us has insight into our secret place, even the most secret of our thoughts.
Jubilee, let us be a people who are shaped by the Word of God, led by His Spirit, and obedient to Him in all circumstances. Let us not be dismayed by the sad news or distracted with the political climate, but rather seize every opportunity to sow the seed of the Gospel that brings freedom. Praise God that we do not have to wait for the Year of Jubilee every fifty years, but rather can proclaim it in our streets every hour of every single day. Remember that Jesus has not called us to compromise, or to be liberally inconsistent. In faith, look out for signs of the Spring time. So, the next time you’re asked for your opinion on the authenticity of the Bible, deity of Jesus, the historicity of His life, death and resurrection, the issue of immigration, the persecuted church etc. follow the example of Jesus. Not only that, let's live our lives to the service of our great King! And slightly taking this verse out of context, ‘…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’*
*1 Corinthians 10:31
It sounds too good to be true, but this has happened throughout history since the first church in Jerusalem was persecuted. Those scattered believers planted new churches in the places where they settled.
The age old question of whether Christmas gets earlier each year. Perhaps it points to something deeper than we think.