Ours is a suspicious, angry, and anxious age.
Who can I trust? Who has my back? Who is interested in my well-being? Who is genuinely for me in this world, if anyone at all?
Collectively it seems we are a wary and deeply wounded people, always on high alert. Fight or flight. Our blood pressure is setting new medical records. The needle rarely quivers below red.
In the last so many years we’ve learned to thoroughly question the motives of anyone and everything. What’s their angle? What’s in it for them? What agenda is being promoted? Can I trust them with what matters to me? Probably not.
We don’t want to be – we won’t be! – duped or played for another’s gain. We don’t want to be losers, or posers, or sad and sorry victims in someone else’s power play.
We want to live with ourselves and stand for something important. We want to know the real and unvarnished truth so we can live our lives with real integrity and a measure of peace. Give me the whole truth, we say, and nothing but the truth. But how can we tell who is telling the truth? What is the truth?
And it’s into this deeply untrusting age that you have been born.
ON PURPOSE, God himself has birthed you into the world in which you now live. This time and place have your name tattooed on it. This is your one earthly life.
The night he was betrayed Jesus stood before Pilate who repeatedly asked him if he was a king. “You say I am a king,” Jesus stated. “For this reason I was born; for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.”
“What is truth?” Pilate said before handing over the king of all creation to death on a Roman cross.
The people of God; the children of God; the trusters and lovers of God, are born into creation to bear witness to the Truth. What is the truth, then? Do we know it? Can we speak it into our age? Can we live it? Embody it? Hope in it? And how do we, like Jesus, bear witness to the real Truth in the specific time and place ordained for us?
This is not a new dilemma for those who follow Christ. In every age, the principalities and powers preside over man-made courts and streets and systems and echo Pilate’s man-made wisdom.
Are you are king?” Pilate asks. “I don’t want to harm you – that is not my way. But are you saying that your “truth” is the authority over everything? Even me?”
“Do you not trust me?” Pilate says. “Can’t you see that I am able to save you? Think carefully about your options before you answer.” And there in the middle of all the questions Jesus stands.
And so, too, the bride of Christ stands with nothing of this earthly world to commend her. But she stands, not alone, but with Christ and his spirit. She stands as the beloved of God, offering the kingdom of God, to an angry, suspicious and anxious world loved by God.
“Look around,” Pilate states the obvious. “There is no one to vouch for you here. No one has your back. Your own people have rejected your truth. And yet you stand in this place and claim to know – better than me! – the One, True, Indisputable and Eternal Truth of all mankind?”
To which we reply…? What do we reply…? Church?
I’d love your thoughts. More (part 2) to come tomorrow.
(image by David Gray, “Scars Of Courage”)