I created this week’s video because I am hearing so much doom and gloom about the future. Given my faith, I absolutely reject such a vision of the future.
Both Republicans and Democrats tell us that if the opponent is elected president next year that America is doomed. Kind of an interesting outlook, considering that we are a nation that survived Grover Cleveland (two separate times!), James Buchanan, Warren Harding, and Richard Nixon… (Notice that I have named presidents from both parties…)
And every drop in the Stock Market leads to our being told that the sky is indeed falling!
What is more distressing to me are the Christian leaders who emphasize the waywardness of our nation. Their vision is of a nation without hope and a nation of total depravity. Whenever anything bad happens, they are quick to proclaim God’s judgment upon America.
For instance, after 9/11, Jerry Falwell proclaimed it was God’s judgment upon America because of feminism and other perceived sins. (Ever notice that Christian leaders never say it is THEIR sins that have caused judgment! One could argue that a lack of compassion is far from a minor sin….)
To say we are living in the Last Days because of perceived failings in our nation is both foolish and self-indulgent. Who are we to say that America is the most important nation in God’s eyes? Is not God the God of every nation? To say that God’s history is worked out primarily through US, OUR nation, strikes me as being just a little bit arrogant.
And people who have proclaimed imminent end of days now have a perfect record, stretching two thousand years…. of being wrong.
And so we Methodists proclaim a faith which acknowledges the reality of sin, evil, disease, and natural disasters…. but also a faith which proclaims that there is love and grace and hope to be found.
And we believe that at our best, within the church, the Body of Christ, is a foretaste of a blessed life, in which people care for one another, people offer mercy and compassion to one another, and people trust that God’s grace is a force greater than any evil and any destruction.
The words of St. Paul in Romans 8 resonate:
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NRSV)
As always, it comes down to faith. Do we believe in a God whose power is so paltry that He is helpless to offer the world nothing but a future of darkness, death, destruction, turmoil, and tribulation?
Or do we believe in a God whose power is so great that, along with God’s people, He is fashioning a future of hope and promise?