Stanglin: The solution from outside
Right now, our nation feels so fractured. Just turn on the news for about four seconds. Any channel.
Right now, our families and neighbors seem so separated. When’s the last time you saw your parents or went to a birthday party?
Right now, our churches are more scattered than gathered. There are people who used to sit by you who don’t anymore. Your church is smaller than it used to be. And your pastor doesn’t know what to do.
Right now, the whole world is focused on the distance and the differences between us. Just check out your Facebook.
Right now, it seems that if you don’t live where I live, look like I look, think like I think, vote like I vote, or worship like I worship; if we are of different ages, different races, or different nationalities; we can’t be together. If we don’t have these things in common, we must not have anything in common. We can’t.
That is decidedly not what Christians believe. We believe that by the grace of God we are all connected to one another. But it’s only by grace. It’s nothing we can ever accomplish on our own.
We live in a broken world. We are a fallen people living in a fallen world in which the systems and structures and supports and the people who run them are broken. We cannot fix what’s wrong with us, what’s wrong with other people, or what’s wrong with the world. We can’t fix it because we are the problem.
We go to family counseling but, once the sessions are over, the family system pushes us back into the old habits. Black Americans suffer injustice and we all protest together but, give it time, and our society goes right back to where it was. We go to the polls for every election and vote for change every time, but we’re stuck in the status quo. It’s the old line: If voting could change anything, they would make it illegal.
A fallen humanity in a fallen world offers no hope to anybody. We put our hope in science and technology, but all the great advances have caused more problems than they have solved. We put our hope in our money, our kids, or our careers, and we wind up disappointed and empty. Every time.
We all need the grace of God that comes to us from outside our broken systems. We need a salvation from outside our fallen selves. And the good news of amazing grace and everlasting truth is that God so loved the world that he came here to us. He came from above us and beyond us to save us. He redeems us by his blood, he restores us by his love, and he connects us together in himself.
Right now is the time to remember all the things we have in common. And, by God’s grace, live into them together.
Right now is the season to consider the countless ways we are attached. And, by God’s grace, work towards expressing and experiencing them together.
Right now is the occasion to acknowledge and prioritize the many ways we are connected to each other and to every man, woman, and child on this planet by the incredible gift of our faithful God’s amazing grace.
Allan Stanglin is the Senior Minister for Central Church of Christ in Amarillo, www.amarillocentral.org. He posts almost daily at www.allanstanglin.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org