When Darkness Looms: An Open Call to the Church

When Darkness Looms: An Open Call to the Church to step up and BE the light in the darkness.

There have been many times over the past year or so that I've been completely bewildered by the world I wake up in each morning. It seems as if it's all going to hell in a handbasket. And quite quickly, at that.

The news is bad and just gets worse. Christians are facing genocide in the Middle East. Terrorists are striking major cities left and right. People are fleeing from homes and countries, only to be rejected by the rest of the world.

And even here, in the United States, where things are supposed to be better, it's not. As if the worst presidential race in history isn't bad enough, it's quite apparent that we are a nation divided. Not just on one or two hot button issues, but on everything. We can't agree on anything. We squabble. We fight it out on social media. We point fingers. We lay blame. We call names. We spew vitriol. And worst of all, we kill.

It's horrifying and tragic and senseless. As I sit here in horror at the name-calling and mud-slinging and judgment-casting and hate-mongering and people-slaying, I think to myself, "This is what the Bible means when it says that the world is broken."

It's in times like this, as sin runs rampant in our hearts and homes, ripping apart communities, nations, and yes, even the world itself, that I see just how much we really need Jesus. The world is broken before us. It's aching and bleeding and groaning for redemption. Do you see it? Can you hear it?

The darkness is thick, for sure, but don't let it fool you. It is not so thick that the light of Christ can't pierce it. It's so important now, more than ever, for the Church to actually BE the Church, because it's precisely in the midst of this terrible brokenness that we are most needed. We must be brokers of peace, bringers of justice, and bearers of light. 

We must love others without flinching, without regard to skin color or background. We must lift our voices in outcry against injustice, whether we have experienced it personally or not. We must open our doors to those who are different, be they refugees from around the world or our neighbors of another color from down the street.

We must present to the world an alternative to the brokenness. We must be a vision of heaven on earth. We must demonstrate that God's love is big enough and powerful enough to overcome even the most impenetrable of barriers dividing us. We must show the world that the blood of Christ is strong enough to instill peace in place of enmity, light in place of darkness, and love in place of hate.

If we who claim to be followers of God will not step up and do this, then we shouldn't be surprised when the rest of the world wants nothing to do with him. We have stood idly by for long enough. It's time for us to be the kind of people that God has created us to be. He has raised us up for such a time as this. This is the reason for our existence—to point to the light when darkness looms near.

Oh, Lord, help us. Our hearts are shattered. Everywhere we look, Father, we see pain, injustice, and brokenness. Bind up our bleeding hearts, Lord and mend what is broken in us and among us. Help us stitch together the ragged edges of a country and world that have been ripped apart at the seams. Oh Lord, the violence, the killings, the hatred, and the vitriol are all too much to bear. We are devastated, and we are lost.

But we are not without hope. You have loved this broken and bleeding world so much that you gave your life up for her. Lord, I pray that you will help the Church rise up in this present darkness. Overcome our differences, Lord, and unify us in Christ. Help us be your hands and feet. Help us to bind up the brokenhearted. Help us to broker peace. Help us to show the world that your love is more powerful than the sin that divides and destroys. Let us be a vision of heaven on earth. Help us, Father, to be your people, to be bearers of light and harbingers of hope in the thickest places of darkness.

Fill us with your Spirit, God. Do through us what we cannot do ourselves. To your name be praise and glory and honor now and forevermore. Amen.

Until next time, grace and peace.