As another Easter rolls around, we are assailed by bad news on all sides, and can barely keep our ears attuned to good news.
I’m here on this blessed morning to appeal to you to keep your ears, mind, and heart attuned to the good news.
In fact, I would like to suggest that as the world seems to turn upside down, what we are seeing more and more every day is that it was already upside down – upside down for a longer time than most of us really understood – and what it’s doing now is slowly turning right-side up again.
Right-side up won’t necessarily look the way our minds expect it to. It has been occurring to me in recent days that while Iraqi Christians are returning to the homes they were brutally ejected from by ISIS, and joyously celebrating Passion Week in the rubble-strewn streets and bullet-ridden churches of their ancestors, Christians in nearby Europe are too often harassed by the authorities for speaking their faith – or driven from their schools by an irrational fear that they will offend immigrants – or are simply indifferent and empty as the culture they have known breaks down around them.
Iraqi Christians hold #GoodFriday masses thru-out Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad to Nineveh Plains. In Middle East Christian cultures everything else shuts down in the communities during the #Easter weekend, as all prepare and gather to celebrate the most important days of the year. pic.twitter.com/grLtStoQlh
— Iraqi Christian HRC (@iraqschristians) March 30, 2018
More beautiful pictures of #Syriac #Christians celebrating #PalmSunday in Baghdeda (Qaraqosh), Iraq, for the first time in 4 years or since ISIS was defeated from the area. This town was the largest Christian in Iraq prior to 2014. #IraqiChristians
Happy Holy Thursday! pic.twitter.com/vaEBNXKHoU
— Iraqi Christian HRC (@iraqschristians) March 29, 2018
How odd that in 2018, there might be greater fulfillment in being Christian in Iraq than in being Christian in Germany or France.
How remarkable that as a bishop in Sweden proposes to remove crosses from a church in order to “accommodate” Muslims in some way (?), Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman holds pioneering meets with Christian and Jewish faith leaders, and urges his country to roll back social rules that oppress women.
In Iran, the people persist in a slow-rolling uprising against their radical-Islamist regime, continuing improbably after more than three months to demonstrate in the streets, challenge the rulers, and defy often brutal persecution by internal “security” police. What if Iran changes character for the better? What if Saudi Arabia does?
It’s an inversion so weird it’s hard to think about: the worst of repressive Islamism shifting away from the Middle East? And erupting more and more in Europe, in parts of South Asia, in Africa – places where it is actually arriving, settling in, putting down roots?
There are many places where daring hopes for something better are not on the horizon yet, of course. Syria remains paralyzed and tortured; Turkey increasingly so. There are positive developments in Africa – e.g., in Zimbabwe – but dark and negative ones as well. Repression and militarization are on the rise in Russia and China, prompting grave regional concerns from India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Eastern Europe. Too much of Latin America today is a morass of government corruption and cartel-controlled no-go territory, some of it so extensive the cartels function as vast territorial fiefdoms.
But the conventional thinking of our old-consensus pundits is no longer predictive about where any of this is taking us. It’s been a while since they were mostly right about things.
At least six times in the last six months, something “Trump did” was supposed to bring on the Apocalypse. Yet no such catastrophe has befallen us. The usual-suspect prognosticators keep being wrong.
It is strange indeed to come to an Easter Sunday having no trust at all in the bona fides of mainstream media reporting on my own government – reporting that merely caterwauls with a sort of demonic mindlessness about “chaos” and “racism,” and a laundry list of buzzwords so overused they have lost all meaning – while being pleasantly surprised by what I see developing from North Korea, Iran, and Iraq.
It’s a reminder that the Lord works in mysterious ways. The “world” wasn’t prepared to perceive and understand how He was working 2,000 years ago, when a young Jewish carpenter was no doubt apprenticing with his earthly father, and training with the elders in the faith of his people. In the year A.D. 18, all of Jesus’ documented ministry on earth still lay ahead of him. He celebrated Passover as an observant Jew; there was yet no such thing as Easter. He never made it more than about 30 miles from his home in Nazareth, and 11 years later he would die on a cross, seemingly a passing curiosity whose memory was bound to fade quickly.
But God isn’t bound by what we can see. What becomes clear to us only in hindsight, He has seen since before time itself began.
If you’re not wearing your seat belt yet, I recommend putting it on. Jehovah is at work in the Earth today. Welcome, happy morning. Rejoice, and sing Alleluia! Our Savior is risen. Fear not; God is near. Be quick to forgive. None of us here can see the way ahead. What we think we know keeps being upended. We either have ears attuned to bad news, or ears attuned to good. We are on YHWH Sabaoth’s time now.
Happy Easter from Liberty Unyielding.