Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself inundated with nothing but bad news. As we wait on the edge of our seats for the decision of the grand jury in Missouri regarding whether or not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, I find the country (and my community) once again in the throes of another tooth-and-nail
free-for-all debate over race and how it plays out in our society.
Several years ago, I made the best decision I could ever make: I got rid of traditional television. No cable, no dish, no rabbit ears… I stream my entertainment through the internet (Amazon Prime Video and Hulu Plus). This means I no longer have twenty-four hour news-for-entertainment being broadcast into my home, stirring up the pot and getting my dander up. (And added benefit: No political campaign ads, either!) However, the news still reaches me–Janay Rice and domestic violence in the NFL; Adrian Peterson and child abuse, also in the NFL; Officer Sean Groubert of South Carolina being arrested after shooting an unarmed man who was complying with his orders; riots in the streets of Ferguson and the militarization of police forces; riots in the streets of Morgantown… over college football; riots in New Hampshire just because… the list goes on an on.
Over the past few months I’ve talked so much about justice and peace and how it’s being destroyed and harmed at ever turn, that I’ve found myself falling into the “gloom and doom” thinking from which I usually try to direct people.
“We need to be realistic about the world,” I concede regularly, “But we need to remember that Christ brought the Kingdom near and we can be a part of it even now!”
“Build the kingdom where you are!” is my motto… and we can’t do that if we’re moping around with attitudes that seem to project the notion that the Kingdom can be destroyed drunken college kids, abusers of women and children, acts of racism, acts of violence, or anything else.
Sometimes, in our march through this world–in between the laying of bricks for the Kingdom–we need to stop and celebrate those places and moments when the Spirit breaks into the gloom and doom and reveals in a burst of bright light a moment of God’s triumph in this world. A moment when a Jew and Muslim in the Middle East embrace, rather than hurl Molotov cocktails at each other–a moment when someone most oppressed by ISIS stands up and puts them in their place–when a little girl with a book becomes the Taliban’s most powerful and influential opponent–a moment when love prevails over hate, when kindness prevails over cruelty, when compassion prevails over greed…
So, for the next month I am issuing a challenge to myself–for the next 30 days, I am going to seek evidence of God’s in-breaking Spirit in this world… evidence of the Kingdom come (on this Earth as it is in Heaven).