Dear Michael, let me focus my response to your question: “Where do you see the current societal movement which seems to be seeking fullness of life,the satisfying of injustices, through the destruction of physical historical symbols, statues, buildings so on and so forth going?”
For so many reasons, my answer could be brief. I simply do not know the future. But as the old song writer once penned, I do not know the future, but I do know who holds the future. Call it cliche, glib, or misused, but those words are profoundly true and applicable for the moment in which we live.
For followers of Christ, we do not know how the current situation will develop. But let me mention a couple thoughts informed by the Scriptures.
- There is a throne and there is someone on that throne.
In 2016 a group of us RZIM speakers were meeting and Sam Allberry gave the morning devotional talk. His text came from Ezekiel 1. I remember him putting out a few questions that are as pertinent and felt as ever today. In a context in which God does not seem to be winning, we ask (a) Is God strong enough? and (b) Can he be trusted?
These are a couple of questions many Christians are asking today. Is God strong enough and can he be trusted?
In the ancient context in which Ezekiel found himself, the situation was dire. He was a priest and a prophet (his name means “God strengthens”) and in a major way that is what we se him doing in this book.(among Hebrew exiles; *See A Survey of the Old Testament, Hill and Walton.) Let me get right to the point. In a situation where many questioned God’s power and his sovereignty (exile!) Ezekiel writes in verse 26-28 that there is indeed a throne.
What is he doing there? Answer: Ezekiel is reminding his audience that there is a place of authority. All is not lost. There is a place of justice. But more! There is someone on that throne!
For our time today, we need to be reminded that there is not only a place of authority, but that God is the exact one in the place of that authority. “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.” (verse 28)
- Live out of love, not fear.
Earlier this year I wrote an article that I still believe is important–NOT because I wrote it!–but because I think the posture and heart of it reflect the character of Christ.https://www.rzim.org/read/rzim-global/the-coronavirus-choosing-love-in-a-time-of-fear
So much of the news and narratives that reach our screens or airwaves today are coming from a place of fear. But that is not the way of the Lord Jesus. Never do we hear or read the Christian God endorsing or instructing us to fear. In fact, it has been commented that the words ‘fear not’ are mentioned 366 times in the Bible. (enough for once every day, even in a leap year!
I like these words from Eugene Peterson: "All the water in all the oceans cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us. That is the promise of [Psalm 121] “God guards you from every evil.” A long obedience in the same direction
So, let me land the plane to this very important question. Yes, there is feeling of all-pervasive trouble at the moment. These are difficult days. But the message from Scripture and the Christian God is that things actually are not out of control (there is a throne!) and that God is ultimately in control. (He is on that throne.) In light of that truth, we are to live out of love, not fear. He will give us that strength if we come to him for help.
Thank you for the great question.