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DOING SOMETHING IS USUALLY MORE POSSIBLE THAN DOING EVERYTHING

There are different kinds of gifts,” the Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:4 “but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” There are also different strategies, and there are different opportunities, and these too are worked by God. For those of us who are concerned with justice, with the work of Gospel reconciliation, with the work of ending those evils visited upon us by Satan, by the fall of mankind, and by the sins we have brought on ourselves there is something we need to remember; God is still at work and He works in various kinds of ways. In the context of sin, and through our various callings, gifts and contexts not all of us have to do the same work, nor can we, to help arrive at the “common good.” God’s sovereignty is all over 1 Corinthians 12 but if you study life closely you realize his sovereignty is equally all over the circumstances in which we live, and as we live to be faithful to Jesus and the militant progress of His Church. It is in the context of darkness God is working out His light. All of these things are working together for the good of those who love Him, all of these things are working out to accomplish His purposes. Sometimes we lift up our head and catch a glimpse of it, and sometimes we seem to keep our heads down to keep them from getting knocked off because life seems to be in chaos. In a world ruled by the Prince of the Power of the Air, who now works in the sons of disobedience, it seems like chaos. Every self-identifying person or group attempts to define themselves and the world in their image, and all these narratives seem in opposition if not to one another then certainly in opposition to God. They all grab for power, some with guns and violence, some with an attempt to dominate culture. It can make us feel small, and afraid, and on the verge of defeat. Then along come the Christians in Charleston and they forgive, and for a wonderful moment in our nation and world light chases shadows away. With all our various gifts, or chances of doing something good in this world, we can as a common denominator remember that our identity as Christians is built on love It is that identifier we are called upon to not only remember, but to reveal. This last year or so the struggle against racial injustice and oppression has had some startling events and moments. They have not all been the same, and the reactions of those involved have not always been the same. The killings by police officers of unarmed black men is different than the killing of black worshipers though both affect black people and ultimately affect all of us in America.The emotional response is different because the sin is different. The oppression of black people in America takes many forms, as well as injustice in general. If government officials use their power to hurt those they should be protecting by using it inconsistently, or preferentially, then that is injustice. It is another kind of oppression when an individual takes it into their own hands to hate and then hurt someone based on their race or ethnicity. I say this because some people don’t seem to understand or feel the anger that is unleashed when “authority” oppresses versus the civilian bigot. Dead is dead, obviously, and grief follows after it. Circumstances and context help decide what the reaction will be. If you bring death and oppression to Christians, while they are being Christian, the result might just look like Christ. This is just as it should be, but it still seems like a miracle and beyond most of us to comprehend. Not every situation is the same, nor should be our response, and neither can be our involvement. However, all of us ought to be doing something about injustice (and there are so many kinds); wherever we can, however we can, whenever we can according to our gifts and opportunities. I don’t think doing nothing is the Biblical option. “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “but we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 24:11 & 12) NIV

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