Not wishing to completely plagiarize but convey a sense of comparison between now and when C.S. Lewis went on air during WW2. Seemingly similar times to which we are living in now. Seems to me, one of the men I would have loved to conversed with about the times we live and perhaps would like to see in heaven to be able to talk on his experiences. Perhaps for his signature simplicity in exploring and explaining overly ambiguous concepts.
In these times we are currently with in our own modern day world war as it were. Much like when C.S Lewis first calmly shared his take on humanity and Christianity on live radio, while cities burned, nations fell, honest working people died. We too are still as much in a world in need of a voice of calm. A voice to remind us that yes, indeed faith is of value. Indeed there is hope. How do we find hope and calm in these times? Seems that we could say the same thin lifeless words said before but it seems that of late we have drawn lines between liberal and conservative. We’ve replaced simple explanation with flat almost dead single liners. Insults. Patting each other on our backs for memes that come to nothing more than feeling like we’ve perfectly trolled the “enemy”.
Are we different than those facing hard times of WW2? Yes and no. Those alive at those times faced life and death, poverty, homelessness perhaps from bombs. Today we face a much different war. Political wars, racial tensions. We face poverty and homelessness and joblessness due to covid, natural disasters, entire nations under siege to disease, Chinese rockets falling back to earth fast enough to pulverize small cities. I think for the most part, the biggest hardship people face is the onslaught not of all of these things but the fact that the very same system in place is responsible for all that has brought us to the point of quick economic collapse. The systemic capitol gains, the almost complete commercialization of our society. The realization that the system is not built to sustain itself. The honest working man can’t afford the rent to work where the getting is good. I think this is what makes these times scarier than those yet at the same time, the answer then is the same as it was then…
Much of what attracted people to the apostles in the beginning wasn’t comfort nor was it dallying around the facts. I believe that the apostles were in essence telling people the truth. Truth of who God is, truth of who we are. The sober truth that though we face multiplied ever burdening trials, there was good news. The good news that despite circumstances, despite who you are, despite who God is; this is not the end, you do not have to be a victim of your addiction to sin and God still is reaching out to you. If you are willing to hear; he is making the call.
Spiritually, what we face today, is perhaps similar in times past. When much is forgiven, much more is love bound to abound. The call was to be a light, we who are second, third, or however many in line of generational Christianity lose something. Yes it is good that we do come to Christ sooner than later yet in doing so I feel that we no longer feel the connection to those who have not yet come to Christ. This is to me one of those things that not only impedes others and unintentional inoculates others to hearing the good news. That we have become so good at trivializing being Christianity to either the point of being cold or forgetting our first love in Christ. Not having anything of substance, or thinking more of our works than they really are. However I would point out increasingly, what we are seeing more of, we should know better now then before. Perhaps being with out excuse with technological ability to not only read what is expected of us in unlimited translations and concordances.
I think people are shocked when you calmly ignore the years of aggressive calling out of each other. Take any sinful behavior. Why is adultery a sin? Because it creates bitterness, jealousy, broken homes, children with broken outlooks on life, murder. That was a easy one. Why is lying so damnable? Because you can ruin lives in slander. Whether it’s causing someone to lose their jobs or causing people to hate others based on stereotypes, or lose their lives in misinformation. Why is covetousness so wrong? Because if you want something long enough, you will steal to get it or even kill for it. I could go on but I think that you get the idea. These are the reasons for things being sins. Generally speaking people appreciate the explanation even if they do not agree or care to do anything with it. Regardless you will have shed light on darkness which was the call for us as believers not to get into arguments. A soft word turns away wrath.
I believe that as christians that when we truly start to hit our stride (which is not to say we stop struggling with sin as we work out our relationship with Christ), and perhaps become effective in our faith and perhaps in our calling to bring the gospel to the world. Is when we let go. Completely let go. Really grasp that this world is not ours, realize that what separates us from anyone else is not what we do but the choice to let go. Surrender. Yes works are a sign of surrender but works with out surrender is a sign of lack of love. We can say all of the right words, do all of the right things and still lose our souls to the fires of hell as much as anyone else. Surrender the notion that you are owed for what your works, or that you are literally any better of a person than the next murderer, liar or person on tv telling you it’s ok to do things you know not to be morally right or couple living the lifestyle next door you read is unexceptionable for a Christian to have( notice I said christian, not unbelievers because who am I as Paul wrote to judge unbelievers and what they do).
The next thing would be to understand a very simple thing, a lot of people are going to hell. Wow that’s a very hard subject. People who reject Christ, or use Christ for personal gain or think that just because they were born into a religious family, when they die are going to hell because they never chose a relationship. Now, God knows already who they are and sees them now and who they will be when they die, and regardless of his for knowledge he still extends his offer of grace. On the same note that person who heard the gospel once and loved God without knowing which sins him or her were committing other than what the knew will go to be in paradise. If we focused on this truth, we could better reach others who are willing to hear and if at all possible live peacefully with those who won’t. We may or may not be surprised who does or doesn’t make the final cut. It’s not like you can counterfeit your faith either, nor bribe God to take our children. Everyone has a one choice to surrender and pick up his own cross and die to himself.
The truth is, in this day, we are more apt to declare our rights to defend ourselves by baring arms than claiming our freedom to live in Christ and to die in whatever fashion is gain. I think that regardless of how time turns out perhaps life will go on like it did for those who thought the world was ending in WW2 or perhaps it won’t and we ride the tribulation till the return of Christ. Regardless no amount of worry will add another day to anyone’s life.