Over Thanksgiving, my family went to go see the second Hunger Games movie. My mother, who is a beacon of pleasantness, spent most of the movie with her hands over her eyes. After the movie, we were talking about the parts that we liked and the parts that we didn’t and my mother remarked that she was particularly disturbed by a scene where the wealthy people of the Capitol eat so much at a party that they take a vomit pill so they can continue eating (all this while people in the other districts are starving). She was bothered by their indifference to the suffering of others.
Ahem. Sunshine Beth, who is always fun to be around, said, “Well, you know, mom, we aren’t too far off from that today” and then the next morning, we watched a video of a man elbowing women in the face at WalMart to get a second flat screen TV. It seemed from the comments that many people thought it was funny. I just thought it was really, really, really sad.
It’s easy for me to get depressed about the current state of the world, sometimes even the state of the Church. The willful blindness and, at times, hateful ignorance makes me want to throw my hands up and take a nap. There is an ocean of brokenness all around me and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.
Probably alot like those Israelites felt about 2001 years ago. You see, the Israelites have a long tawdry history with God, fully detailed in the Old Testament. Before Jesus, the last thing they heard from God was basically, “You guys are dumb dumbs. I’m sending a solution. Sit tight.” And then 400 years (full of being conquered and reconquered) went by before they heard from Him again.
But God was good on His promises. Even though the Israelites were expecting a warrior king to come kick out their overlords, He sent a baby in a manger. But He had a plan. He sent Jesus to teach us how to love. He sent Jesus to restore our relationship with Him. He sent Jesus as a solution to the brokenness.
I remember a sermon I heard once that talked about the three tenses of salvation. I have been saved by making a decision to follow Jesus. I am being saved daily because He is making me more like Him (ahem, most days). I will be saved ultimately in the future. That just made so much sense to me. And it gave me hope.
I’ve been reflecting this week that the same “tenses of salvation” is true for the world, especially the Church.
He has saved us. He offered us a way out, a path back to God. He gave us an idea of what it looks like to be humble, compassionate, patient, kind, just, righteous. Reading and reflecting on Jesus’s life gives me hope for the Church.
He is saving us today. When I hear about the Church moving, like taking care of orphans in a creative, ethical way or transforming the homeless community in downtown Dallas, I get excited. Seeing how His present-day disciples are following in His radical footsteps gives me hope for the Church.
He will save us tomorrow. I’m not going to claim to know what heaven is like or what will happen when Jesus comes back. But I do know this, banishing all brokenness is on the menu and I personally can’t wait. This might be the first Christmas that I’ve actually yearned for Jesus’s future coming so He can heal all of this. Thinking about life without brokenness gives me hope.
Happy birthday, Jesus. Thanks for all the things you’ve done, are doing, and will do. I have reason to be hopeful.