When the World Goes Dark

This is not about an election. The church should not mark its progress in four-year cycles but instead consider the times and work while it is day—because night is coming.  

This is not about the other side of the aisle as if a country can be split down the middle. The way we see the world cannot be halved and then pitted against those who do not share our convictions. “For God so loved the world”—not our corner of it.

While it makes for good political theater, these patriotism competitions are far from entertaining. And from where I am sitting, no one is winning.

American society is melting down, bowing down to the golden donkey and elephant. It is democracy stripped down to next to nothing.

Who is keeping track of what we have lost? Decency, integrity, truth and solidarity are at the top of my list. Write yours down quickly before we can’t see what’s right in front of us.

America has turned against itself. All pretense is gone. United in name only, our divisions are so obvious that even foreign countries can see them.

Still, the church is called to cultivate authentic community amid a nation of enemies who become strangers and strangers who become enemies. Maybe we stayed too long while “meeting people where they are” as our faith has become partisan.

Political affiliation is often conflated with a faith position. Just look at what happens when anyone says liberal or conservative. 

Also, follow Jesus or tow the party line are peculiar options. How did we get here?

We sold our communion table for a seat at the president’s table. Using the name of Jesus in vain, we traded our light for leverage on the world’s stage. 

Wanting not only to be in the world but on top of it, we made business deals instead of disciples. So, we have more money and fewer hopes for the community we’ve been called to serve. It is no surprise when we want to move out of it. 

It is the end of the world as I hoped it could be—at least for now. I had such high hopes for Christianity, but its followers have continuously let me down. 

Jesus said we are “the light of the world” (Matt 5:14-16). Instead, we are the source of heated conversations and debates. We are mostly known for finger-pointing, looking down our noses at others and shoving the Bible in people’s faces, which is not the same as being Jesus’ hands and feet.

And so many dark deeds and controversies have come to light. So what can the church- pot say to the kettle-world?  

The world knows the answer and has the church’s tongue. What the world giveth, the world can taketh away. What can Christians say with authority when repeating after Caesar in word and in deed?

Can we even see ourselves anymore and has anyone seen Jesus? Because it’s getting dark.

“The great crisis among us is the crisis of ‘the common good,’ the sense of community solidarity that binds all in a common destiny—haves and have nots, the rich and the poor,” Walter Brueggemann wrote in Journey to the Common Good. “We face a crisis about the common good because there are powerful forces at work among us to resist the common good, to violate community solidarity and to deny a common destiny.”

We are called to be the church in and out of political season. For me, it is not a position of left or right but rather the possession of divine light.

It’s the only way I’ll be able to see you when the world goes dark.