|Finding "Shalom: in 2021|
In our last post, I reminded you that change does not come to us simply by turning the page on a calendar. In fact, true change to bring about the world that we desire can only come by the intervention of the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ. That is the message of the gospel!
This week, we have had a further confirmation of how important this truth is. The events south of the border around the confirmation of that country’s next government point to the fact that for many there, (as well as in Canada), hopes for a better world are tied to politics and political leadership. Even those who participate in that political leadership reveal their understanding that this is the case by using language that elevates politics to the level of religious expectation. They can say things like “our temple to democracy was desecrated.” That suggests clearly that their hope for the well being of the nation is tied to the political system.
If history has taught us anything it is that political systems and players cannot deliver on that expectation, for they come and go. Our well being can never be achieved through exercise of power by any person or administration. I am not saying that political actions cannot contribute to this better world, but that they can never be the basis of it.
Consider again the biblical story of humanity. It was God who created humanity and established the well being of people. Of that world that he created, he said that it was “very good.” It was indeed a place of perfect harmony because God’s word ordered it. Sadly, our first parents decided that they would try to recreate their world in their own way, becoming the judges of what is good or evil. Consequently, we lost the harmony of God’s world. It is that harmony that we have been trying to recreate without success ever since.
The Bible says that we can rediscover that order only by returning to life under the rule of God. That is what the gospel invites people to return to. It is a summons to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in one’s life. The apostle Paul declared, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). Notice that it starts by declaring that Jesus is LORD or KING. Alas human rebellion to Christ’s lordship can only be overcome by a divine work of grace in each of our lives. It is to that end that Jesus came into the world to be our savior. He came to bring light into our darkness, to breakdown our rebellion, and to bring new life to those who were “dead in their trespasses and sins.”
Now to all those who trust in Jesus to be their savior and Lord, he gives to us “abundant life.” God’s world of shalom is opened to us once again for we are “reconciled to God.” To all disillusioned with the “this will make it better” plans of people, whether those come from political sources or economic prospects or marketers or whatever, Jesus said “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). What a wonderful invitation to accept at the outset of this new year!