Shining Lights

The other night, I was sitting on my porch enjoying the evening and reading. I had some music playing. It was a gorgeous fall night. I had the company of a good book and had even seen some deer meandering through my yard, seemingly oblivious to my presence. But I couldn't help but feel a soft undercurrent of sadness. This often happens during the fall as nature is slowly shedding the vibrancy of summer for the hibernation of winter. But this time there was more to it. There was a feeling in my heart that our entire society is draped in a sense of sadness and helplessness. My mind began to wander over various recent events. Things like the death of Justice Ginsberg, the ongoing and seemingly ever-present rioting across America, the senseless death of people at the hands of criminals and protectors alike. I was overwhelmed by an acute sense of futility. "What's the point," my heart cried out. What is the end game to this life? It was a visceral, emotional response. And as I sat thinking about it, I was reminded that Solomon had a similar response. He was more eloquent than I can hope to be, but he said that everything is vanity and meaningless when you live a life apart from God. There is no purpose in life simply for its own sake. As we progress through this year of unimaginable events, I think that resonates with us all. A life that is lived for its own sake is vanity and meaningless. As I watched the reactions to Justice Ginsberg's death, you would think that the world was ending. The same has been true of the reactions to all the other seemingly unique events of 2020. And if you are living a life without Christ, then it may well feel that way. But for those of us who know Jesus, it is different.

Someone recently told me that I can engage with emotionally volatile material without getting emotionally involved with it. As I have been thinking about that, two things have come to mind. First, it seems that is simply how God made me. So, there's that. Second, I believe in the holy and sovereign God of the universe. The one who is uncreated and from whom all creation has come. The one who loved me and you so much that he sent his own son to die for us (now that I have my own kids, the idea of that is unimaginable). And if that is the God I know exists and whom I choose to follow, what happens in the political machine of my country feels less important. The death of a Justice and their replacement becomes less important. That's not to say that pursuing justice isn't important or that participating in our governance isn't important. Those things are vitally important. Voting, making your voice heard, and participating in our republic is vital. But the death of Justice Ginsberg and the naming of her replacement is in the hands of God. And if God is who he claims to be, then it's going to be ok. And the more I look at our culture and see people who are so lost that they have placed their entire selves in a temporary, flesh-based identity, the more I realize how deeply our world needs Jesus. How deeply it needs his followers to be his hands and feet and to show our broken world his compassion, grace, mercy, and love.

As we continue through this year, I am simply hoping to remind you (and, mostly, to remind myself) that our world doesn’t need our opinions or our vitriol. Our world needs Jesus. Our nation needs Jesus. As trite as this can sound, Jesus is the answer to the challenges we face. He is the one that calls us to repentance, calls us to himself, the one who stands before God’s throne interceding for us as our Great High Priest. Our call as Christians is to carry his light into the darkness around us and when people notice it, to point them back to Jesus. Our job is not to point them to our opinions, it is to point them to Jesus. That is a reminder I needed as I sat on my porch the other night and one I will continue to need as we move forward. Don’t forget, let Christ’s light shine and point others to him.
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Josh Cervone