As Christmas Day 2020 nears, and the year 2020 moves to its close, I write this reflection and call to action…
An unplanned pregnancy, trip, birth, and departure. Those are just 4 pieces that cloud the birth of Jesus Christ in chaos. Mary didn’t expect to get pregnant. A Roman census forced late pregnancy travel to Bethlehem. The birth arrived in an inconvenient location. Soon after the birth, a crazed, King Herod hunted the newborn babe. Only an angelic warning and a forced migration to Egypt rescued the young family. Unplanned. Chaos. Merry Christmas Joseph. Merry Christmas Mary.
This past year has been a series of unplanned and unprecedented events. Chaos that required quick decisions, regular change, and intense pressure on persons, homes, schools, churches, and governments. Throw in a political quagmire, racial tension, and a lurking virus, and it’s no wonder that most people I know have serious soul whiplash.
The God-trusting Christian knows full well that there was nothing “unplanned” about Jesus’ birth, and my guess is, most in our church family have little doubt that God is sovereign over derechos, Trumpism, secularism, and the like.
But I want to go one step further; could we as Jesus-loving, hell-believing, gospel-hoping Christians realize that any and all chaos is when it’s ripe to trust in God? Just think of what happened on the back end of growing perseuction and the murder of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Read Acts 11:19-21: “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”
The first major movement of Gentile evangelism and Gentile church-planting came out of the seeming chaos of persecution and death. And who did this work? Look again at the text. No names are listed. A bunch of unnamed saints spread the word of Jesus Christ. They were on mission with God. They did not yield to the chaos.
That’s my prayer as we transition from 2020 to 2021. That we don’t let “chaos” knock us off mission. I’m personally guilty this year of wanting to have things a certain way to be most beneficial to myself or my family, whether it’s how school should be or church or my Menards shopping experience. I need help to remain committed to Jesus Christ, my local covenant-community, and being on mission to make disciples.
So, who is with me? I believe the best days of Cornerstone Church and our mission locally and globally are ahead of us, but it will be for those ready to shoulder the load together, ready to put personal preferences aside for the sake of the gospel. Who will come with me? Who will remember our fight is not against flesh and blood, but the rulers and principalities of darkness in this world? Who will embrace our given identity as ambassadors of the gospel?
Shakespeare captured well the heart of what I’m seeking, when he put these famous words on the lips of Henry V:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother [and sister :)]
Amen. I love you Cornerstone Church.
Ways to Engage this Week:
Remember to tune in tomorrow at 12PM for a mid-week pastoral encouragement via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82543108027?pwd=em5ucU5xUWFFN0hnZjFpa0QxTm9UQT09
An in-person Christmas Eve Service will start at 6:30PM Thursday (streamed also via FB Live.)
Our prerecorded Christmas Eve Meditation is already posted to be shared with any family and friends: https://cornerstone-marion.org/wordpress/2020/12/20/at-home-christmas-special/