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Friday, July 08, 2005 

London: A Tale of Two Days

It's hard to post anything right now that doesn't deal with the act of terror that took place earlier today in London. And as I reflect on the day's events, I realize that there are a million different perspectives I could take. Martin Tiller just days ago wrote on his weblog that though he considers himself a liberal, he recognizes that evil is alive and well in our world, citing the cold "BTK" serial killer's explanation of his vile crimes before a court of law. So I could talk about how this act is yet another example of that pervasive and real phenomena called "evil" that is very alive and well among us. Or I could talk about how overwhelmed the residents of London seem to be at this point and how God could be using this in order to soften the hearts of those in a city which seems to be miles away from the epicenter of Christianity it was at the end of the 19th century. But I think what has jumped out to me most is how this internationally diverse city has, over the last 48 hours, gone from exhuberant celebration to sorrowful mourning.

Less than 24 hours before the first bomb exploded in London's Underground this morning, words couldn't describe the joy that the British were experiencing at the announcement by the International Olympic Committee that they had indeed been chosen to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2012. Many had speculated that the residents of the city didn't care enough about the Games for the Committee to award it to them, but the scenes at Trafalgar Square after the announcement disproved that hypothesis. And just up the road in Gleneagles, Scotland much pomp and circumstance (and protest) accompanied the opening of the famed G8 Summit which was to focus on aid to Africa. England was a country envied by the world, a place of hope, expectation, and peaceful exuberance.

But behind the scenes evil men lurked, poised to change all that and in the early morning hours of this day, they succeeded. London is now a place of mourning, of fragility, and of anxiety. It is no longer the envy of the world. It is a place of brokenness, frustration, and anger.

So, what I am thinking about this hour is: "What can we take from this tale of two days?" I believe we need to remember that this world is chaotic. There are no promises here of safety. While Jesus Christ has pledged to never leave us or forsake us, He also promised that we would have tribulation in this world. This is not our home. As Christians we cannot lean on this world or embrace it too much. We must exist with one foot in the world and the rest of our bodies yearning and stretching heavenward. The apostle Paul felt the tension. He longed to minister to those who were living in a fallen world, but he was aware of the bigger picture. In his letter to the Church at Philippi he said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account." As for us, we remain. Therefore, let us do as Paul and labor, bearing fruit and glorifying Christ. Ask yourself today how God can use these tragic events in London in your own life to glorify Him more.

Until Christ is Formed in All of Us,
D.R.

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Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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