James goes on to answer his own question in his letter to the twelve tribes by describing a world ruled by pride and ignorance, jealousy and rage, because “we desire and we do not have, and we covet and do not obtain.” He goes on to explain how our “friendship with the world” makes us enemies of God and, thankfully, the steps every last one of us can take to change our course. I encourage my readers to revisit James 4:1-12. As you may recall, it was James 4:8 that changed my course back in September 2015 when I purposefully sojourned to Esterbrook, Wyoming to hear it on the mountain from the purposeful pastor, Kirby Kudlak.
The world has become a much darker place in the span of four years, and seems only to grow darker by the day. We are attacking ourselves for the hats we choose to wear, and choosing to kill our own fully developed infants at birth. And just when we think we’ve hit the darkest dark, and the lowest low…we read about John of God’s “Baby Farm” in Brazil, where he enslaved women to be repeatedly raped and impregnated, for their babies to be harvested and sold to the highest bidders. We read of the courage, love, and bravery of the woman who sacrificed her own life to bring this devil to justice. Her name was Sabrina Bittencourt. And now for the worst news of all. The horror that I’ve just described IS NOT NEWS! At least not on CBS, NBC, CNN, Washington Post, or New York Times. They are all too busy trying to take down the man who has quietly declared war on the greatest evil of our time.
So this week of all weeks, a prayer comes to me…as I prepare for the coming Lent.
God of my fathers Make your Holy Spirit to rise up in me To replace my yearnings with Yours… To soften my anger with the wisdom and discernment To know thy children from Thine enemies To turn my own crutches, cares, and cravings Into the fiery lightning bolts of Your perfect justice To rain down on the enemies of all that is good in this world. To clear the way for my children and theirs, Even to my own end… Thy will be done, Amen
People may know of the horrors and atrocities in our midst, but they act as if they don’t. We may know of the raping of our culture; pulling down our statues and monuments, invading our privacy as well as our borders, monitoring and censoring our speech and communications, violating our rights, and weaponizing our own government and justice system against those of us who dare to speak the truth…but we act as though we don’t. WHY? What are we afraid of?
Earlier in the week, after I had written what I now call My Prayer of Preparation, I read it to a very lovely Christian friend I had only just met. She responded kindly, but disapprovingly as if I had written something un-Godly. I must say, I am getting quite accustomed to being reigned in by so many of my Christian brothers and sisters of late. Interestingly, it is very similar to the suppression I felt by those more Liberally inclined when I spoke up in defense of Conservative values in their presence. How delighted the Devil must be with the shape of things as they are at the moment. So many of us, including those familiar with Bonhoeffer’s condemnation of “silence in the face of evil” seem to have convinced ourselves that our own silence is the Godly response to the evil in our time.
But I will ask you dear friend, to read my prayer again. And I will beg you to read it more carefully this time. Notice, it is not my spirit but the Holy Spirit. It is not my yearning, but “Yours”. It is not my justice, its “Your perfect justice”. These are not my enemies, but “Thine…” And it’s not my will, it’s “Thy will be done.” The entire Bible is a cry for God to deliver us from evil, and yet asking Him to do so through us in this our darkest hour is somehow un-Christian? We may be lacking in faithful obedience to God, but we have allowed ourselves to be conditioned into silence by the Devil.
These words came to me this week as well…
On the seed and the Sun We are both neither and one To reach for what we can never be Cannot be stopped by stone or sea The love for you inside of me Me to you, and you to me Like seed and Sun Will always be.
The idea you could have corrected with your glance, becomes the action you would have contradicted with your word, becomes the movement you might have challenged with your fist, becomes the bullet I have to stop with my body…before it kills those whom I love more than myself…when the time comes.