“The more we grapple with the darkness and brokenness of our world (and our lives) the more we will understand why Jesus came and why He still comes.” (from week 1 of the Jesus series) Jesus did not come to begin a new holiday or two. He didn’t arrive to start a new religion or give us a set of topics to sing songs about or traditions to add sentimentality to a season. Jesus didn’t come just to teach us some good and Godly things. He didn’t even just come to be a good example for us to follow. Jesus came to address a very real need. A need that you and I were and are unable to address on our own.
As most people, and especially parents, I sat speechless, horrified and broken over the senseless evil at an elementary school in Connecticut yesterday. I have 3 little girls, two of them in a local elementary school and so my mind immediately goes to how horrified and utterly broken these parents and families must be. And yes, I watch as debates rage over different policies, legislation – much of which flows from heavy hearts who want justice and want to somehow prevent anything like this from ever happening again. I get that, but I think this tragedy begs even deeper questions and reveals something more primal and real.
There is lots of speculation and wonder about the end of the world and specifically the so-called “Mayan prediction”. As a pastor, I’m often asked to comment on things like this as people are curious if the Bible speaks to these issues. Well, Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Bible says, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” This is a reference to the end times and when God will set things right. So, it would seem for anyone to place a date for the end would be contrary to Jesus declaration, that no one, not the angels, (or the Mayans) would know. There is however quite a lot written in the Bible about how we should live knowing the end is near.
People have real needs, some of them relational, some financial and others personal. As followers of God we are called to care for the needs of others. Sometimes these needs can be helped from an organizational level. What I mean is we can partner with an organization that is systematically caring for needs and better our society. There are also ways we can help personally, by developing a relationship, reaching out to someone in need, offering to help in ways we can help. All of these efforts are important and necessary. If more Christians were doing this, there would be a lot fewer needs in our world. So as you read the rest of this blog, please don’t sell any of this critical and important help short, because it’s necessary!