Those of us in America who love and have been saved by the God of Jesus Christ have, it appears to me, a great privilege in the near future.
We have been given the honor of bearing Christ’s Name as an increasingly obvious minority.
It’s time for us to be despised and respond with mercy, forgiveness, and prayers to our God for the salvation of those who can’t stand us.
We have received from the Master’s good and knowing hand the chance to bless when we are mocked, to rejoice because our reward in Heaven increases with each slander and with every Christ-caused insult.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t grieve that our culture is sanctioning and praising sodomy and perversion. We should. I do. But there is a beauty in at least some of this.
For decades those of us who have been born of the Spirit and who live in America have been able to assume that the major components of our worldview were shared by the larger culture around us. Our nation was at least partially founded by Puritans and preachers, and her institutions and her documents and her people held some wide strains of that in their common blood. Though regenerate hearts may not themselves have ever made up a majority, we were, for a long time, citizens of a nation of Scriptural allusion and Biblical literacy. Though the hearts may have been pagan, the songs and the poems and the buildings felt largely familiar.
But we have been given a chance to crystallize, now. To be sharpened and to shed much of our flesh, as minority pilgrims in a majority world should. We haven’t been forced to the sword like Antipas or James or many of our Christian brothers and sisters in today’s Middle East, but we’re probably not going to be able to hide in a country of stained glass and crosses as well as we used to. Our proclamations of Jesus as Lord will not be met as much with a complacent, “Yeah… And?” as they will an unbelieving and scoffing “Says who?”
Throughout the twenty centuries since our Savior’s Ascension, there has been something cathartic and electrifying about Christian mockery and persecution. It strips you of your dignity, but also of any illusion that this world and her comforts ever held anything that could’ve ultimately satisfied your soul, anyway. They cut off John’s head and put it on a plate for preaching righteousness, but John is coming back with the King in a body of impossible brilliance, to be glad in Jesus for eternity. Getting decapitated in a jail cell takes on a different hue in that light.
We are getting a chance to grip arms together and minister to a world that is increasingly perplexed or disgusted by us, instead of a world that nods a bored head because it has heard the Bible before and believes therefore all is well. There will be more and more angry shouts and heart-ripped tears, and less and less disinterested yawns from people who think they already know the tale.
Our risen Savior is with us, and from where I stand it looks like He is guiding us into a time of beautiful struggle.
We didn’t become the minority Friday. We were reminded we always were. And so were they.
And since we are, there is much good work to do.