Pray, Think, and Make Christian Community a Priority
By Carolyn Moore
January 12, 2020
What happened in Washington D.C. last week was beyond sad. It should not have happened, and we cannot emphasize strongly enough that any connection to these events with the core values of Christianity is utterly wrong. We must all stand against this attack on democracy and sound a clarion cry for justice.
Recent events in the U.S. have tried the bonds of civil unity in a time when we are disconnected from one another. Like other places in the world, social distancing has kept us from community and conversation, which are so important to true understanding and compassion. What our differences and distance are doing to us corporately is heartbreaking. What it is doing to the U.S. breaks my heart. What it is doing among Christians breaks my heart.
So how do we respond as followers of Jesus? How do we stand in contrast to the anger, violence and chaos swirling all around us?
Pray. I know it seems too shallow a thing to say, but actually, I can think of nothing deeper. When I heard the news and saw the scenes on the screen, I could think of nothing else but prayer. I went out into the woods and prayed and sought the Lord. I don’t want my responses at a time like this to come from anything less than the Holy Spirit. So yes – pray. Pray for the U.S., for its citizens, for our world, for the Kingdom to come. Pray for the Spirit of Christ to settle on all people. Pray for a restoration of true character among leaders. Earnestly pray the prayer of Jesus: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). Cultivate a hunger for the Kingdom of God, so you don’t run the risk of idolizing lesser kingdoms. Pray for God to give you the right spirit and response so you are a light in this dark world.
Think before you speak (or post). Paul tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). I urge you to hear his admonition and take care of each other by cultivating the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. “Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:23). It sure is easy to fire off opinions these days. It seems like where there are two or three people, there are ten opinions. Oh, for a few more folks who know how to take their thoughts captive! I’m not advocating for silence in the face of injustice but right now, our world needs less contention and more contrition. We are in desperate need of a spirit of repentance, so we can fight the right enemy. Remember what Paul said to the Ephesians: our enemy isn’t flesh and blood, but powers and principalities of the darkness. That’s where the fight belongs. If you need to be angry, be angry at the enemy of our souls.
Make Christian community your priority – now. Every person who follows Jesus ought to be in an accountable relationship with a few other Christians for the sake of developing the mind of Christ. I really, actually believe this: community is essential. Now is not the time to isolate and overdose on the news. Now is when we most need to learn how to hear and care for one another with tenderness and respect. Now is when we need the spiritual discipline of iron sharpening iron, in relationship, calling one another to take on the character of Christ. This is why community is essential. It teaches us how to live in this world by respecting others, showing compassion, and working for the common good. Close communion with a prophetic, worshiping community is essential for followers of Jesus. Make sure you are connected.
Oh, friends, we have never needed Jesus more. We have never needed a new kind of humanity more. We have never needed to humble ourselves before the Lord more than we do right now. We should be outraged by a fallen world and a broken system. I urge you to take your grief and pain and anger over recent events to the cross. Cry out to Jesus. Let him turn all of it into wisdom so you can become a better Kingdom citizen on earth.
We need Jesus, friends. We need each other. And we need to pray.
The Rev. Dr. Carolyn Moore is the founding and lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Evans, Georgia. She serves as the chairwoman of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council. You can read more of her essays by visiting her webpage: The Art of Holiness.
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