As we are dealing with a second round of the Coronavirus, the delta variant, along with other crisis around the world, it can cause us to question whether God is in control or not. Admittedly, even as a Christian, it is all too easy to look around at the world we live in and think that things are spiraling out of control. Fires in the west, floods in the mountains, earthquakes in Haiti, and the onset of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan are all indicators that something is terribly wrong with the world that we live in. In our own congregation we have parishioners that are battling sickness and grieving over the loss of loved ones. In this article I would like to discuss 1) Why things are the way they are, 2) whether God is in control or not, and 3) walking by faith and not by sight.
Imagine with me for a moment that you are on board an airplane. A spirited debate arises between passengers as to what is the most important part of the airplane. One passenger says that the engines are the most important part of the plane. Another passenger responds, “No!”, the wings are the most important part of the plane. A third passenger says, “I disagree with both of you!”, the rudder is the most important part of the plane. After a period of dead silence, another passenger calmly and quietly suggests that “ALL” of these parts are important for the airplane to function properly. You see the first three passengers were engaged in an “either/or” debate. The wise passenger was thinking more in terms of “both/and”.
We will often hear our politicians end a speech with the phrase, “May God Bless the United States of America”. It is good that they say this. We, as one of the greatest nations in the history of the world, owe a debt of gratitude to our Creator for the myriad ways in which He has blessed us. The writers of the Declaration of Independence closed with these words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
The question that rolls around in my mind is “Will God continue to bless America?” Better stated, “Can God continue to bless America?” If the answer to these questions is Yes, then the follow up question becomes, “For how long?”.
When we were young and in elementary school we learned how to add, subtract, multiply, and DIVIDE. Division comes in handy as we live out our daily lives. When you are in the kitchen cooking, the recipe you have may serve far too many people. You wisely divide the ingredients in half in order to yield a more suitable serving size for the number of people you have in your household. When you are out on your boat fishing, you divide out your bait, putting the right amount on the hook in order to attract the particular fish you are trying to catch. In these uses, division is a very positive and helpful thing to humans. The type of division I will examine today is anything but positive. It is positively harmful to people and to the mission of the church. We, as Christians, are to avoid this type of division at all costs for in so doing we protect the fellowship of the church and are able to stay focused on our mission, the Great Commission.
Some of you may have taken civics classes when you were going through school. Civics is the study of the rights and obligations of citizens in society. For example, we would consider voting for our elected leaders to be both a right and an obligation. Today I would like to discuss civility. This word carries a somewhat different but related meaning. Civility can be defined as formal politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech, without qualification. When I say, without qualification, it means that we are to treat others with politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech both when we agree and when we disagree with them. The proper way to exercise our rights and obligations as citizens of the United States is by pursuing positive, constructive, and yes, polite and courteous conversation with other people. Christians should lead the way in both civility and civics.