If you have ever seen the excellent, old film – “The Mission” that tells the story of Jesuit priests in 1700’s South America you know it ends tragically. In the final moments, these lines are spoken:
Hontar: We must work in the world, your eminence. The world is thus.
Altamirano: No, Señor Hontar. Thus have we made the world… thus have I made it.
One character settles that the world is how it is and the other rightly admits that the world is the way we have made it. We have made a violent and vicious world. A world where violence and bloodshed are mourned in our streets and celebrated in our music, movies and video games. We will lament violence in the morning and pay to enjoy it portrayed on a big screen in the evening.
This is not a hashtag issue. It is not a political issue. It is not a legislative issue. As a country we have seen how impossible it is to legislate morality.
This is a heart issue. We have created a violent world because we have created a God-less world. Before you go “amen-ing” and complaining of the legal attacks on faith and faith speech, I mean something much more personal. As followers of Christ we are called to be the light, not to fight for the light, not to demand the rights of the light and not to complain about the darkness while doing nothing. The world is dark because those who have the light have largely failed to carry it.
We as Christ followers gather one day a week and lift our baskets and shine our light together and then quickly recover our lights and do our best to look like the world until we come together once again. We are the lineage of the early church who openly proclaimed the good news of Jesus under threat, fear and eventual punishment of brutal death and persecution.
But today we who have the light are often more afraid of a harsh word or rejection than of not shining the light of Christ. Or, perhaps even worse than fear, we simply do not care. We refuse the commands of our Savior to carry the light and we hide it away.
I am not blaming us for the recent attacks or violence but we must look long and hard at ourselves as bearers of the light and ask if the world is darker because we refuse to shine the light of Jesus Christ. And we must remember this one great, prophetic promise.
“ The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5