Pastor Bill Schnackenberg, Centralia United Methodist Church
How should we respond? To what, you might ask. Or to whom?
Those are two good questions. We must each answer them according to where we are in our lives. According to Jesus, as Christians we live in the world but do not belong to the world (John 17). What does that mean? And why am I asking these now?
I’ve seen the news lately. Most of it is not happy and fun. As a matter of fact the news has been somewhat alarming. As I write this, there is tension in the world of a nuclear variety. There is tension in the world concerning climate change. There is tension in the world about terrorism and in our country about racism. These seem to be ongoing. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a different world?
So, how should we respond to the world we have? How should we respond based on our faith?
We certainly do not want to act rashly, but desire to act with thought and purpose, and to act with faith as our basis. We are not required to do anything differently.
For me, my response to all these world problems is not to envelop myself in a cocoon of apathy to just wait and see. My response has to be actively engaging the world, though not necessarily in “world-defined” terms.
I want a response that carries itself with power. And to unleash the power of God, my response is to follow the commands of Jesus, the Son of God, when he says to go and make disciples; my response is to love my neighbors and my enemies; my response is to treat everyone with respect – the same respect I hope to receive from them.
In other words, the response I choose is to not deny all the things that have been going on in this world around us, but instead to do the job that Jesus gave us to do. And to do that with a sense of caring for people, individual people. My job is to persevere with the cross of Christ as my focus and the love of God as my motivation. There is power in that response, the power of God to change our world.
What happens in the world will happen. But the best way I know to influence what happens is to follow Jesus. I hope you will consider your own responses prayerfully as well.