DayBreaks for 7/23/18: Anathema to the World
NOTE: Galen is on vacation this week and may be unable to respond to emails.
From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:
At our church leadership meeting this past Sunday, we were discussing ways that we could become even more involved with our community. It just so happens that on Friday summer nights in Cloverdale, that there are two things that are designed to attract people from the community (and others!) to get together. First is “Friday Night Live” – a series of musical guests that are brought into town by the Cloverdale Arts Alliance – that put on a free concert in the city plaza for all who want to come and listen. Some of the acts are great – others just don’t do much for me at all. The second activity (located right next to the plaza) is a Friday night farmer’s market where one can examine and buy crafts, vegetables, fruits and other locally grown produce.
The suggestion came up that perhaps we could have a “booth” or some kind of outreach presence at the Friday night farmer’s market. We were quickly informed that the farmer’s market “constitution” prohibits non-profits that are religious or political in nature from having an official presence. (We do live in one of the least churched counties in the United States!)
When I heard that, I couldn’t help it – I had a swirl of emotions run through me. I snickered, and thought, “Yep, that’s just the way it is here!” while shaking my head. Then, I got angry and frustrated that we aren’t permitted by their rules to be there. I thought, “I’ll bet we could get some Christian legal defense fund to sue for discrimination. After all, if they’ll let non-religious non-profits be present (like 4H and FFA), they can’t keep us out!” (Then I thought, yeah, but that probably wouldn’t set a very loving example for the community. Strange, isn’t it?
Finally, I thought, “This world sure hates Jesus and the truth he brought to it.” The world has always hated Jesus. Even when he was a baby, the worldly king was trying to kill him – even though Jesus had not yet spoken a single word. In God in the Flesh, Don Everts had a similar thought: “Jesus has always been a stumbling block. Even his name grates on worldly human ears. Remember the assembly gathered against Peter and John in Acts 4? Their one request: just stop speaking to people in this name! There’s something about Jesus, even his name, that is anathema to this world.”
The apostle John had experienced this first hand. And he came to a conclusion that was as true in his day as it is in ours: (1 John 5:19, NIV) – We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
Why does the world hate to hear Jesus’ words, or even to hear about him? Because it is under the control of the evil one. But, as John noted, “we know that we are children of God…” Even though the world doesn’t know it, it is still true: we know we are children of God because of the testimony of the Spirit to the truth Jesus spoke. But we’d better not expect the world to know it or recognize it or we’ll be sorely disappointed. That is, I suppose, the way it must be. The good news is that it is not just we ourselves, but God who knows who His children are – and God never forgets.
If Jesus was anathema to the world, we couldn’t be in better company!
PRAYER: Lord, sometimes I get angry and bitter at how we as Your children are treated in this world, and I feel like I sometimes want to lash out in response. Help us to remember that we are Your children – and to act like it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.