Tuesday, October 3, 2017

After Las Vegas and what we do now


All too often these days, a blog post I intended to write is scratched because something happens in the world that pushes it to the side. Sadly, it happened again, yesterday.

Much of C.S. Lewis’s book on apologetics, Mere Christianity, was taken from talks he gave on the radio over the BBC during World War II. According to Christianity Today, “Adolf Hitler’s influence on Lewis’s apologetics is an irrefutable fact. The Fuhrer’s evil campaign paved the way for the clear-speaking Lewis to engage listeners of the British Broadcast Service. Even as bombs fell over London, Lewis’s baritone voice boomed on radios across Europe.”
 
After learning of the events in Las Vegas, I turned again to Mere Christianity. Reading that book provided a line of demarcation in my life and moved me to full surrender to the Lord. Lewis says, “Enemy-occupied territory―that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”

The horrible events in Las Vegas make us want to point our fingers at someone or something. It’s guns, or a madman, or terrorism or any number of other things we could mention. But the truth is we live in “enemy-occupied” territory. Above anything else, what we can point our finger at is evil itself, because this old world is broken, but thanks be to God, “the rightful King has landed” in a manger in Bethlehem and his name is Jesus.

At our church, we recently sang the hymn, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus,” a line of which goes, “let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.” This hymn was written by George Duffield, Jr., an abolitionist, and the son of the second congressional chaplain during the time of the Continental Congress. Both of these men knew what it was like to have courage rising with danger.

My son has been a big country music fan for years ever since the University of Georgia where he was a student hosted  a music concert for the first time in their football stadium. He attended that night, and ironically, Jason Aldean was performing, the same artist who was performing in Las Vegas when the shots rang out.

Who knew that in order for my son to continue pursuing the music he loves, he’d need such a great amount of courage just to attend the venues where the music is performed.

When I first saw the pictures from Las Vegas this morning, I knew it could have easily been my own son at that venue.

In many ways, those killed or injured are all our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, our mothers and fathers. According to CNN, among them-- a nurse, a police department employee, a special education teacher, a recently graduated high school cheerleader, a kindergarten teacher, a Mom of three, an office manager with two adult children, a young woman who helped run a family business, an attorney, a school district secretary, a woman championed as the glue that kept the family together, and a Disney employee. That’s twelve. There are forty-seven more.
 
Friends, we are indeed in “enemy occupied territory,” so what we do now is we get going with what Lewis calls “our great campaign of sabotage.” The way we do that, is follow God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and spirits. We don’t cower in the corner or let the fear win, we press into God.

That may seem a strange counterattack, but consider the absurdity of sending a baby to be born in a cattle stall to deal with the sin of the whole world. Strange works.

Remembering today in prayer those that were injured and the families of those who died in the Las Vegas attack.  Our hearts go out to you. We are giving thanks for first responders in law enforcement who put themselves in harms way as well as medical personnel who saved many lives.

“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon . . . prayer is essential . . . pray hard and long” (Ephesians 6: 13-17 The Message).

                Is there no balm in Gilead or in Newtown

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