2020 has been a year that many of us want to put behind us. We are ready to see family, see people that we miss and get things back to normal. Well, that is some of us, are ready to do this. Well, some of us don’t have those people to see anymore, our families are fractured and or work is transitioning. Our lives have been turned upside down and poured out onto the floor. For some of us the world that was, will be no more. We can’t go back, it will never be the same. For some of us we have passed that critical moment of departure and can never return to what was before.
As, 2021 dawns and we look towards a New Year, we are met with diverse viewpoints of opinions and possibilities. So what are we going to do? Well, we have some options. One, we can stay in a holding pattern and look for the opportunity in our situation to attempt to return to the way things worked before 2020. Two, we can deny things have changed and continue to delude ourselves with the idea that things will get “back to normal.” Thirdly, we can stop and ask the question, that we needed to ask, (hopefully you already have), what does God want me to do in this situation?
Oh, I hear the comments filling the rooms already of those reading this article. Murmurs, scoffs, thoughts of where is this guy coming from, and curiosity. Follow me, for a moment. In the days of Christ, the religious leaders were far more political in nature than we often consider. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were often caught up in the political workings of the day to seek to preserve the Jewish nation as they best saw fit, while teaching the Jewish people to follow God and obey the Law of Moses. What we discover, is hypocrisy! (What did he just say?) Yes, hypocrisy! The do as I say, not as I do was rampant in the society, across the Jewish culture and in the Roman Empire. So how did the people respond to their leaders and the hypocrisy that was prevalent? They tried to find a balance and determine the truth. We find this over and over again, as the Jewish people sought to follow God and live according to the teachings; the leadership failed to follow the same guidelines.
So what happened? Divisions, factions, quarrels, disputes and the like took place. But something else occurred. There were those that sought to find unity in Christ, and from that unity in Christ, build a new way a life. Society in the time of Christ was at a critical point. We, also today are at a critical point and some would say that we have “past critical.” Denominations are dividing, people are staying home because of leadership, distrust, fear, anxiety and forgotten faith. Words on a page have become, just that, words on a page. The Authority of Scripture has been eroded, the value of prayer has been maligned, the walk of faith has been trivialized as being weak and the list goes on. Yes, some would say that Christianity is “Past Critical” to be viable. But then, why did I take time to write this little blurb, if the words were going to be empty and disheartening? Why, because, I don’t believe being “Past Critical” is a bad thing. As Jesus died on the cross, the religious leaders sighed in relief that it was over. Another disaster was adverted by the death of a so-called messiah. But God does His best work when it is “Past Critical.” These are the moments which make Godly miracles! Jesus rose from the grave when, everyone thought it was over. Daniel came out of a den of lions when all thought he would be dead. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, walked out of a fiery furnace to proclaim God in a land that denied God. So if you think, the world, the day, the moment in which we are in is “Past Critical,”, please look again and see God at work doing miracles right around us and decide today if you want to be part of the miracle in the making or the disaster that is waiting. Decide today to return to a body of Christ in your neighborhood and be strengthened in your faith. 2021 is a year that each one of us may seek God, do His will and become a stronger voice for the truth of God and call all to return to a viable walk with God.
The writer is the pastor of Immanuel Church of Kettlersville and St. Peter’s Church in New Bremen.