For those who may not have heard, we have recently had an election in the United States. It’s fair to say – after this election there were some mixed feelings in the country and world.
Some of us are exceedingly sad, we thought one candidate was a slam dunk. We believed reasonable people would prevail. We are unhappy and feel cheated, marginalized, angry and we are fearful and worried about what might be ahead.
Yet, some of us are happy. We have grown tired of being marginalized by government officials and culture brokers. We believed if enough people stood up to the “political machine” of prevailing powers we might just turn the tide of coarsening culture. But, some of us are also unhappy so many people seem to be so unhappy – how could some people feel cheated when others are feeling a sense of hope? We are fearful and worried about what might be ahead.
Still there are some of us are dismayed and perplexed. Those who thought they would win and were worried about the “other side” not accepting it, are the ones who lost and don’t want to accept it. We saw the ugliest of campaigns with imperfect candidates pulling people toward extreme positions and divisiveness. And we are fearful and worried about what might be ahead.
Still others of us are dumbfounded. We saw fellow persons of faith abandoning a commitment to character and joining in the bitter vitriol of name calling, shaming and blaming through tweeting, Facebooking and forwarding fake stories. We have seen bad logic, flawed moral reasoning, and superficial Christian thinking, and are stunned by those who’ve joined in. We are fearful and worried about what might be ahead.
And then we read, “And the angels appeared in the sky and said don’t be fearful or worried – We bring you glad tidings!”
What a great time to be alive!
We are in the season of Advent. That time since the 4th century in which Christians have marked the first coming of Christ – the word became flesh and dwelt among us. The most humble and vulnerable act in human history. As Kingdom people we are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love thy neighbor as thy self. “Who is our neighbor?” you ask. We are neighbor. Advent couldn’t be coming at a better time.
As we look back over pages of history, we see that Kingdom people regularly have had to be reminded “to not be fearful or worried” in the midst of a lot of temporary kingdoms:
Romans, Tsars, Mongols, warlords, Kings and Queens, Sultans, oppressive Church bureaucrats, communists, fascists, tyrants, technologies, tribal fiefdoms, dysfunctional families, corporate systems; tyrannies of lots of different kinds, in lots of different places across a lot of different cultures and places.
In the midst of this time, we keep being invited to be “ambassadors”, may I suggest “foreign ambassadors” in those kingdoms in which we find ourselves. We are called to be faithful citizens with a higher loyalty to a citizenship of The Kingdom of God – “a holder of dual passports”. It is a simple, different and exceedingly challenging call to be faithful, be strong and have good courage, and not to worry or be fearful. It’s a great time to be alive because it’s a great time to rise up and be Kingdom people. We must refuse to dig in and take “sides”, but to build bridges, to do justice, to love mercy and walk humbly with the one they call Emanuel, God with us.
May we dare to find where God is at work in our world in reconciling, healing, finding new language, reframing challenging issues, building partnerships, and creating unusual collaborations to tackle tough issues, do good, cultivate human flourishing and join Him in those things. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I love that Advent is here just when we thought the light was going out!
BOOM! Stars light up, angels sing, shepherds, wise men and all sorts of folks start showing up!
Among the Jewish people, an ancient rabbi taught some to say this prayer based on Micah 6:8: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. We are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are we free to abandon it.”
“Do not be fearful, worried or afraid – We bring you glad tidings.” What a great time to be alive.