"What is therefore our task today? Shall I answer: "Faith, hope, and love"? That sounds beautiful. But I would say -courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature...we lack a holy rage-the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth...a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God's earth, and the destruction of God's world. To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember the signs of theChristian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish...but never the chamelon."
~ Kaj Munk
During Kaj Munk's lifetime he had much to lament about as the world around him was in obvious turmoil. He was a prominent Danish playright and Lutheran priest living through one of the most bloodiest times in our world's history. Hatred, intolerance, fear, injustice, suffering and death were woven into the tapestry of his daily existence. He lived during the second world war and was eventually killed, his Bible beside him, by the Gestapo in 1944 who would not tolerate his open critisicms towards Hitler's cruelty.
Kaj Munk illuminates the importance, as Christians, of taking inventory on the state of our heart and its reactions and awareness to the cruelty that permeates our world. How do we respond to the social and environmental injustices we witness in these modern days? Are we filled with apathy when we come across the troubles and sufferings others are experiencing? Do we feel saddened yet feel we can't do anything? Do we feel troubled and just want to look away from the images on tv, displaying starving and dying children, figuring that someone else will take care of it, or the problem is much greater than we could comprehend, for sure we, alone, couldn't make a difference.
...Or do we feel angry...that someone would dare treat a child of God that way? That while other's tables are overflowing with food, yet many more are empty. That while precious children are dying because they don't get the simple vaccinations and medicine they need there's medicine that expires everyday on shelves across the globe? Let's stand up and resist complacency! Let's stand up and resist being apathatic, or turning sad eyes away. We can help others...we have the Spirit of God inside us after all!
The Bible tells us: Through God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
Jesus stood up for what was right and against what was wrong. He went against the current that most let guide them through the culture of that day. But when he saw something wrong or injust happening, or felt like people were being hypocritical, he called them out on it, holding them accountable. Look at the account of when an adulteress was about to be stoned. Jesus was not complacent. He called into question the purity of those about to cast stones on the woman who had sinned. He stepped forward and spoke up, asking him that has not sinned to cast the first stone. (John 8:4-11). When we see someone being treated or judged unfairly, do we speak up? Or are we complacent?
Let's look at when Jesus entered Jersualem and saw people misusing the temple. "Turning a house of prayer into a den of robbers". What did he do when he saw that? Did he walk away, head bowed, feeling nothing could be done among such defilement towards the sacred? No...with a holy rage he overturned the tables and rebuked them. (Matthew 21:12-13) Jesus was not complacent.
I wonder what the world would look like if christians like Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Teresa gave up and did not pursue the stirrings the Spirit caused in their heart towards combatting suffering in this world, figuring they, alone, could not make a difference. Both, beautiful individuals, pursued different paths-one, an open and loud voice towards reform, rallying others that shared his visions...the other, a quiet gentle soul, by her very service to humanity sparking a fire inside the hearts of many to follow in her vision. Neither were complacent. There are many ways to contribute towards peace and love in this world, to combat evil and darkness...but to do nothing...perhaps that's the greatest of all crimes against humanity.
So during this season of Advent I'm going to suggest being introspective and looking at our role as Christians in this world. Do we walk the walk like Jesus did? Or do we talk the talk and let the sufferings and pain of our neighbors go unnoticed or ignored. I'd suggest, and this is only my layperson suggestion...but let's get angry. Let's feel anger towards the groanings of the world under the yoke of darkness and oppression. Let's get angry enough to be stirred towards casting our light into the darkness. Towards lifting our hands to help, our voices to speak against wrongs, our feet to walk the path that Jesus did.
Let's cultivate a holy rage against complacency and a holy love towards our neighbor. In the eyes of the homeless, of the sick and the dying, of the depressed and diseased, of the murderer and the robber...let's see Jesus. And let's battle against complacency by extending ourselves beyond our comfort zones and lifting others up, encouraging them, giving them hope in Jesus.
I'll conclude with these verses that apply to this message and are worthy of consideration. (As is everything in our holy scriptures)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’