Here’s what will happen. Maybe you’ve already been through it. Or maybe you’re living through it right now.
I don’t know what will trigger it—I’m no prophet—but I do know, sooner or later, something will.
The company you’ve poured your heart and soul into goes belly up. Your spouse slips off her wedding ring, puts it on the counter, and slams the door forever behind her. The tests show that the tumor is, in fact, malignant.
The details will vary. But in that moment, and in the days and weeks—maybe even years—that follow, you’re convinced that the sky is falling. Your life is basically over. Draw the curtains, turn out the lights, the party’s over.
I’ve been there. As have many of you. It hurts. It’s scares the hell out of you.
And it’s highly deceiving.
As bad as it gets, as much pain as it inflicts, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s not even close. It just feels that way.
But if you’re not careful—as I was not careful—you’ll become so overwhelmed with all the bad stuff going on, you’ll spend so much time staring up at the sky that you’re convinced is about to fall, that you’ll forget you’ve still got work to do, people to take care of, vocations to fulfill.
Your world has changed, to be sure, but it is not over.
The same applies to the church, perhaps even more so.
On a recurring basis, Christians spot news headlines that signal yet one more moral collapse in society, the growing paganization of the cultures in which we live, the spread of antipathy toward the faith.
And then--Lord, have mercy--it hits social media. Facebook becomes an online pity-party or preaching-party, lamenting the end of society as we know it. Twitter explodes with 140-or-less character doomsday-sounding predictions. And in pulpits across the land, pastors have plenty of fodder for their Sunday morning sermons.
I get the concern. I really do. But if we’re not careful, we'll become engrossed with all the bad news. @@We’ll end up sounding more like the Church of Chicken Little than the Church of Jesus Christ.@@
We’ll give the impression that our central message is not “Christ crucified” but “The sky is falling.”
We’ll forget that we’ve still got people to take care of, vocations to fulfill, plenty of work to do.
And that work, that mission, is not to save our culture from moral collapse, not to raise up law-abiding citizens, and especially not to spend all day, every day, whining and complaining about the loss of the good ole days.
The mission of the church is to bring sinners into communion with the life-giving, sin-forgiving, salvation-imparting flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
Until the sky really does fall, and the Lord comes again, that’s the work God has given the church to do.
Let’s do it.