Today marks the beginning of the final quarter of 2020. Has anyone besides us found the first nine months to be more chaotic than usual? Where’s the hope?
Trust the experts. No, not those experts. Don’t wear masks. Wear masks, but only good ones. Wait, don’t wear masks. No, just wear anything as a mask. Never mind on the masks. Look at the data, No, not that data. Do the math. No, you can’t do the math like that. Only the experts can understand the data and math. If you are silent, you are part of the problem. If you speak, you are part of the problem. If you have to ask, you don’t understand. If you don’t ask, you don’t care and are racist. A recent article we read explains that divorces across North America are up 34% the first half of this year compared to the same time in 2019, with newlyweds taking the hardest hit.
The second verse in the Bible has intrigued me, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” Is there any better description of chaos than this? Isn’t it interesting the very next verse indicates God’s first step of changing this scene was to turn on the light.
Much of ministry this year involves us moving into chaos, emptiness and darkness to turn on the light. My Let’s Break the Rules messages this past spring has turned on lights for many people. Lights seem to automatically turn on when people break the rules of don’t talk, don’t feel, don’t trust, don’t think, don’t choose and don’t change. The series concluded four months ago, but just recently a First Nations pastor who’s been watching the series called to tell us, in tears, “Your series has hit home.” A follow-up conversation with him and his wife brought out a theme of their lives: “We were raised Catholic, with all the rules you talk about in your series. After meeting the Lord, being discipled and trained for ministry, we joined a mission organization and still lived with all those same rules. We need help to break these rules and find freedom so we can help our children and others to talk, feel, trust, think, choose and change.” We could share a couple dozen stories similar to this.
This series has now developed into a book. The manuscript has been given to a professional editor (who began editing VBS lessons for me thirty-eight years ago). Lord willing, it will be off the press before year’s end. Additionally, Dan Reinhardt and I plan to re-record the messages to create DVDs for small group discussion and a Leader’s Guide. We are launching a website platform.
There’s a mystery dimension to turning on lights. Just being real here . . . a quick read of the Minor Prophets suggests ministry fruit cannot actually be strategized for, planned, or measured. Fruit is a gift from God. And yet, planning is certainly biblical; it’s a demonstration of our faith. What a mystery.
Pray with us for the daily stamina of shining light into conflict, chaos and cynicism with the hopeful outcome of true community, commitment, courage, and changed lives. Yes, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ makes all the difference. There’s the hope.