For a Time Such as This
At long last the dark clouds of winter are lifting and being replaced by the bright, warm, light of the Spring and Summer sun. The dreariness and death of the past many months are being replaced with brightness and new life all around us. Thanks be to God!
And, yet, even though there are some bright rays of hope beginning to shine, the gray and bleakness of our Covid winter continue to cast their dark shadows over our lives. Even more menacing, however, we are all feeling the suffocating weight of a dark pall of evil in and throughout our society. It’s seen and felt in everything from the “wokeness” stifling all speech and politics and the Critical Race Theory corrupting the education of our children and the very understanding of true justice in our society, to even the never-ending erosion of the very moral fabric of our whole society.
We all sense the danger, especially the danger this all poses to the church and the proclamation of the Gospel. But as with the advancing of an ominous, black, thunder cloud of a storm, amidst this pervasive wickedness we might feel powerless to do anything about it except hunker down and wait it out. So, we circle the wagons, stay at home, mind our own business, keep our mouths shut, buy more gold, build-up our own war chest to protect ourselves and our family and hope and pray God or someone will do something about it.
Do we honestly believe that we can possibly escape all the adverse effects of this approaching darkness? Are we that naïve that we think that these dark enemies of truth; and therefore of God, are going to just ignore us who are in Him Who is the Truth? The last thing these menacing forces of evil would want is for the Body of Christ, The Church, the fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ, to continue and to thrive.
The apostle Paul warned the young pastor Timothy: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:2-5).
When is the appropriate “season” for you and me to boldly speak the truth? If we don’t who will? Edmund Burke is often credited with saying, “Evil wins when good men do nothing.” Good men are people of the truth.
St. Peter refers to all of us who have been baptized into Christ and believe in Him as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” A priest’s function is to be a go between, an intercessor, between people and God. Being priests of Christ in our world is our calling. If you and I, as priests of God in Jesus Christ, do not speak up for truth in the midst of the darkness of falsehood, who will?
Nowhere does God say it will be easy. Quite frankly, Jesus assures His disciples it will be a hardship. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Again He says, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
Why now? Why us? Well, why not now? Why not us? Every time and every century had those who stiffly opposed the truth of God, and yet, God had His priests in every one of them to speak His truth to the world of that time. Could this be our time?
Clear back in the 5th century B.C., as God was poised to bring His Old Covenant people back to Jerusalem from the captivity in Babylon, He orchestrated events to such an extent that a Jewish maiden by the name of Esther was chosen to be the wife of arguably the most powerful ruler in the world, Xerxes, the King of Persia. During the time she was queen, a ruthless official in the King’s government by the name of Haman, who had the full confidence of the King, developed an evil plan to exterminate all the Jews.
Esther learned of the plan causing her a real crisis of conscience. The King was not in the habit of listening to his queen for political advice especially advice that would be contrary to one of the King’s trusted counselors plus her own life was in grave danger. What could or ought she do? Should she speak up or remain silent? Her cousin Mordecai counseled her with these words: “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:12-14). Fortunately, for the people of God, Esther heeded Mordecai’s advice, took courage and spoke the truth to the King.
Who knows whether you and I have not been placed in this time and at this place “for such a time as this?” Ought silence, hiding away from the world, even be an option for us? Jesus has redeemed the whole world of sinners through His death from everlasting condemnation. He rose from the dead proving His sacrifice for all sin has been accepted by God and verifying that He alone is of the Truth. Jesus is the only “name given among men by which we all must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). The salvation of the world is dependent upon this truth being proclaimed. It is crucial that we who are of the truth, we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, see clearly that it is our time to boldly speak the truth that the saving light of salvation might be made to shine into the hearts & lives of our fellow human beings who lie in the darkness.
Yes, to speak up could be hazardous to our health, our livelihood, and/or even to our very lives in this world. But we who have been baptized into Jesus’ death have also been raised to life with Him in our baptism (Romans 6:4). We have nothing to fear. Because He lives we shall live also and always. Jesus promises and has with His resurrection made certain that even if we die yet we shall live (John 11:25). Nothing ought to cower us into silence. We are on the right side of the Truth. We are people of the Truth. This is our time to speak the truth and to do so boldly in words and actions like the apostles who responded to those who tried to silence them: “…we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
Our gracious Lord be with us all!