July 11, 2016

Rioting in the Streets

As I write this blog, many of our cities are in chaos and turmoil. Rioting is filling our streets as people protest injustice and the prejudice of our society. Several police officers have been shot this week, along with many young black men. Hundreds have been arrested as riot police try to contain the crowds, fearful for their own lives.

Activists stand on street corners calling for justice, while gloom hangs over our cities like a thick, dark cloud. All the while, our president tries to calm our nation and ease the pain of violence.

To make matters worse, all of this is happening in the global backdrop of Isis: mass murderers slaughtering hundreds of innocent people, raping women, and beheading Christians, and all in the name of God!

Albert Einstein and the Church

In the throes of Nazi Germany, when Hitler was exterminating Jews in his death camps and the history of the world hung in the balance, Albert Einstein wrote, “Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks…Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”

More than 2500 years ago, the great prophet Isaiah looked into the future and saw these dark times. He described our condition like this: “Justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, but behold, darkness; for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at midday as in the twilight, among those who are vigorous we are like dead men. All of us growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none, for salvation, but it is far from us.

Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the LORD saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.” (Isaiah 59:9-11, 14-15)

Divine Solutions

The old prophet was staggered by grief as he grappled with God to hear the divine solution to his dark articulation. Out of his deep despair he heard The Creator’s answer, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.” Isaiah 60:1-5

Our Finest Hour

Church, this is our finest hour. We are the light of the world! We don’t hide from darkness or run from trouble; we shine in the midst of it. It is incumbent upon us as the Church of Jesus to find divine solutions in the midst of social injustice and civic unrest. We are God’s answer to society’s prayers; His supernatural ambassadors of His divine wisdom.

It has never been our mandate to be politically correct, nor should we be polarized by the opinions of men. We must pray for the wisdom of another age, BUT then we must act with vigilance and with courage. We cannot retreat in fear or react in bitterness. Religious rhetoric nor kind slogans will quench the fires of hatred and violence. We need to rise up with relevant solutions that actually solve the injustices of our times and release peace over the turmoil of the brokenhearted.

It’s Time to Shine

We must stand with the oppressed and raise up not just the voice of reason, not just the voice of mercy, but we must raise the voice of declaration in which these dead bones of society’s ills become an army of resolution!

Church, man your stations, wake your souls, find your courage – it’s time to shine!

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