Monday, August 14, 2017

On Charlottesville...

I'm trying to put into words right now the range of emotions I've felt this weekend as I watched Charlottesville unfold.

And the only words that surface are: Lord Jesus, come.

It's all I can think to say. Well, okay, I can think to say a lot, and yes, I did and probably will continue to keep letting words flow, but I keep coming back to these three words. Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

And somehow, it doesn't feel like a small and helpless cry, but as if there is power in that name. Because there is.

And this is what I come to, after an exhausting and horrifying weekend: Christ-followers, we need to be declaring the name of Jesus right now. We need to be establishing His Kingdom with our words and our actions because if not, the anti-Christ of white supremacy, or Nazism, or violence, or racism, or war, or whatever evil might be coming next weekend will take root in far too many hearts, and honestly? I am sick of losing souls. Aren't we all?

So look--Church, at this moment in history, we can't just be about justice. Or peace. Or love, in general.

There will be a lot of voices that call for justice, peace, and love.

No, right now and always, we need to be about Jesus. 

Because being about Jesus means being about justice. Being about Jesus means being about peace. And you better believe that being about Jesus means being about love.

But if we believe that His Kingdom is where all things are made new, then we cannot just declare our own kingdoms of justice or peace or love. Because declaring their own kingdoms is exactly what those people in Charlottesville are doing and oh, did we see what a dangerous road that is to walk.

No, we need to establish, with our lives, the Kingdom of Jesus.

This weekend--in the between refreshing Twitter a million times, hoping to get just one more image of Charlottesville that might finally tell me that it wasn't real--our church family was working tirelessly to prepare for the arrival of the second Syrian refugee family that we are sponsoring to come to Canada.

There have been so many miracles in this process thus far, such as mid-month occupancy at an apartment in a crazy housing market, but the miracle I'm personally holding in my heart is the way that the Lord simply knew that I would need those preparations this weekend.

If white supremacy was going to rear its ugly head this weekend, then God gave me the gift of being able to counter it with preparations to welcome this family to Canada. To respond to the shouts of "You will not replace us," with an emphatic, Jesus-centred, community effort to declare, "We welcome refugees."

Friends--now isn't the time to just be peaceful, or just be anti-Nazism, or just be for defending marginalized communities.

Now is the time for intentionally establishing the Kingdom--on earth as it is in heaven. All those other things--good and vitally important things--are all by-products of Christ's Kingdom. So let's be, live, declare, establish it.

There is power in the name of Jesus. If you happen to believe that, then more than anything else you could do, the world needs you to declare that power right now.

The world needs you to establish a space and live a life where Jesus is King.

Because in that Kingdom, the King Himself suffered under all the evil humanity had to offer and declared it is finished.

In Christ's Kingdom, it is finished. White supremacy. Racism. Nazism. All evil--all of it--is finished. 

All that's left is for us to deny the kingdoms of this world--deny ourselves, our own kingdoms, and the evil that often lurks even in our own hearts--and instead declare the Kingdom of heaven.

And the Good News of this all is that the Kingdom of heaven is near--and not in the way the obnoxious street preachers mean it. No, the Kingdom of heaven, the one where all evil is finished, is so near that we could maybe even see it here--if only we choose to stop chasing our own kingdoms and seek out Christ's Kingdom.

If only we choose to declare that Jesus is Lord.

A related MUST READ (Please. Sit and listen to this!): After Charlottesville, the Question We Absolutely Have to Answer: Who Is Willing to Pick Up their Cross? by Lisa Sharon Harper

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