World circumstances exacerbate tension and anxiety in society with an intensity not realized globally since the second World War. One could worry oneself into a tailspin depression. Loss of hope for some metastasizes when there is no perceived way out of the imagined crisis. Holy Week turns the tables on all “what ifsâ€ to look at every problem with an opposite critical analysis. Hope and belief in God’s plan renders peace and security.
Christianity advances the theology that God created the world with a purpose in mind. His strategy is not a work in progress. The purpose was perfect from the beginning of creation. He knows all things. He anticipates all things. He is surprised by no things. He is threatened by no things. His purpose will be achieved in the end.
“And we know that all things work for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.â€ Romans 8:28
The secular world ridicules religion and the people who believe as irrelevant. Atheists believe in moral relativism. Marxists believe that pleasure and prosperity leave one empty. Collectively, such ideology supports the axiom that there are no absolutes, no truths, and no eternal moral code. Therefore, in society, there is no accountability and no reason or meaning to be held by any values transcendent.
I have personally been confronted by communist leaders who have condescendingly lectured me on the paramount reward of the state versus religion. Only the state, they crow, can provide material necessities for an individual’s needs.
They fail to recognize the spiritual concept on turning the tables of critical analysis.
Understanding and believing that God is in control, committed to a purpose that results in good, driven by love, yields confidence that all circumstances are but a passing journey of trials and tribulations to a kingdom without physical or mental pain.
Finding solace with others of a like mind can provide relief from difficult situations. We not only do better when we approach problems together, we actually heal and repair our spirituality. Recent excavations around Ephesus led archeologists to the conclusion that Christian groups did provided material services to the general community.
In the 1st century, lamp oil was an essential commodity to everyday life. The Mayor of the town controlled the distribution of oil. To obtain a small measure, a citizen had to provide a goat for sacrifice to the Greek gods. The Mayor got to keep the goat carcass. Many citizens could not afford this.
The excavations revealed that there were many oil pots in homes with Christian artifacts. The evidence indicates that Christians carefully managed, shared, and contributed oil to each other to avoid both the cost and blasphemy of sacrificing precious livestock to a false god. Not only did they share the light of the Word, they shared the light of the oil. In so doing, they were a release for tension and anxiety and turned the tables in the crises’ critical analysis.
In the 4th century, Rome was collapsing as a failed state. Chaos was ensuing. Christian communities shared food, clothing, shelter, and all they had with those in need. There was no condition to receive their munificence. It didn’t matter if one were Jewish, Samaritan, Philistine, or Roman. All were welcome. Acting as a like-minded group strengthened individual spirituality and turned the tables in the crises’ critical analysis. It is one of the greatest times of evangelical expansion in recorded history. For they reflected Christ through unconditional love.
Today, in the 21st century, the crises of the times appear apocalyptic. How we as a society help each other survive will position our place in history as understanding or ignoring the turning of the tables concept.
God teaches us to love one another. How much does he love us?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.â€ John 3:16
Accepting Christ’s gift, celebrating his resurrection, and understanding God’s love is the mission of Holy Week.
At Christ’s crucifixion, there were two thieves on either side of him facing the same death penalty. One of the thieves believed and asked Jesus to “remember himâ€ when He arrives at His kingdom. Jesus replied, “Amen I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise.â€ The believer thief was at peace even though he found himself in circumstances that, from the viewpoint of this system of things, was hopeless. By his faith, he knew that he was simply on a journey to the promise land.
As to the question, “Is religion relevant?”, ask the thief on the cross with Jesus at Calvary.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?