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The Hope of Light

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

-       Matthew 5:14-16

I don’t know about you, but every time I look around, the world gets crazier and not in a nice way. To me, it’s sometimes overwhelming to see and to hear the bizarre claims and beliefs that people espouse. Anger is an easy response to the lunacy, but I rather doubt that anger reflects Christ in any manner He appreciates. Even if anger is justified in some degree, it’s not particularly useful because it prevents us from correctly seeing and understanding our time and the people of this particular generation. Besides, I believe there is cause for great hope! Things may get worse, but they will also get better.


Years ago in seminary, we would hear something outrageous and laugh among ourselves because we knew that ‘some things are so stupid, only an academician could believe them.’ Some version of that phrase is attributed to George Orwell, which is appropriate because we are increasingly living in an Orwellian society. Turns out though that we were wrong. Apparently, our children and grandchildren can be taught to hold equally ludicrous beliefs.


When absurdity is the measure of intellect and leadership, the only possible outcome is chaos, and folks, I do believe we are there. If ever one wants evidence for the doctrine of total depravity, the headline news will suffice. There’s no need for some grand conspiracy theory. The intentional destruction of our essential humanity is loudly heralded across media venues as progress. A couple of illustrations…


This month, news coverage of the funeral of Cecilia Gentili demonstrated the reflexive disdain for all things Christian. Gentili was a trans-woman (a biological male medically and surgically altered so as to appear to be a woman) who worked as a prostitute and fought drug addiction. His/her memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and was presided over by a Roman Catholic priest. The diocese is claiming they did not know who Gentili was, but the service was a celebration of transgenderism, prostitution, and sexual promiscuity, as well as a call for wider acceptance and visibility.


This week – tomorrow actually – the “Witness” statue honoring abortion is coming to the University of Houston. If you’re not familiar with the eighteen-foot tall golden statue, it is one in a four-piece multi-media exhibition that is ostensibly a call to justice for women. Ironically, the exhibition is named Havah, meaning breath or life, and is translated in Hebrew and/or Arabic as Eve. I confess I cannot come up with any rational connection explaining how a statue celebrating death is named for life.


The statue wears the iconic lace collar as a tribute Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, who is lauded for being a leading voice for women’s right to abortion. Pro-life advocates call the statue satanic, which is only partially accurate. The statue is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian idols, though the ram’s horn hair curling away from her face is occasionally found on statues of Satan who is universally depicted as male. There is something perversely twisted about the ouster of Satan by the installation of a female abortion idol for worship. Regretably, I rather suspect Satan doesn’t mind in the least. After all, death is death, and if others want to do the job for him and claim credit, his status is not diminished.


Besides being an offense to fundamental Christian belief, these two contemporary events seem to have nothing in common, but if we think about it, they do. We have a man who has done everything he can to be a woman and is memorialized as such, and we have a woman who defines womanhood as everything but that which is distinctly female: childbearing. The rejection of the feminine is the underlying premise in both cases, and the claim is that it’s being done for the good of women. In rejecting the authentic feminine, life itself is rejected, for women are the life-bearers.


This is why it’s easy to get angry. Death is called life; man is called woman, and all women are diminished. Yet, I still think anger doesn’t help. This is the world that God so loved, He sent His Son to save it. We need to remind ourselves of that every day. The reason that we are hopeful for the future is because the Lord told us the world is like this – that the world hates the light. Popular culture is exactly what Scripture told us human life and order will be without God. This is what humanity becomes when we worship ourselves. Wrong is called right. Evil is called good. Dark is called light, and death is called life.


Christians need fellowship and the communion with other believers. We need to come into the presence of Christ together in worship and prayer. But we cannot stay in the safety net of church community. We make a grave mistake by withdrawing into safe enclaves where we largely agree with one another. As surely as society ignores God, equally and even more so, the human soul cries for God, reaching for life in the shadow of death.


Evil always reaches too far. Human beings were created for communion with God, for union with Him as His children. As life is increasingly miserable, human beings try the ever-more-outrageous in search of meaning, in the desire to feel alive. We need to live as contrast to the darkness and evil by being the bearers of light in lives of true virtue – lives made holy by the Spirit who dwells in us. Then, when the darkness is consuming people, the light of Christ will shine within us becoming a beacon home to our Father.


I am not naïve. If we are beacons of light in the world pointing to salvation in Jesus, we also will attract those who wish to destroy light and hope and life. The only way such people and forces succeed is when we hide our light in fear. That is not the God we follow, and that is not who we are.


This world cannot squelch the Kingdom of God, and our Father’s Kingdom is our true home. Our citizenship is in heaven, and we need to live accordingly. That means we need to separate our thoughts and assumptions from those we have received from the culture in which we live. Ruth Bader-Ginsburg is a popular heroine for women’s rights, especially the right to abortion. Yet, when discussing the pro-life animus toward abortion, Ginsburg infamously said she didn’t know what the big deal was since all the “right people” were being aborted. In other words, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg wasn’t really for all women. She was for women like herself, which is in itself a mockery of the statue that memorializes her.


We need to recognize the same contradiction in the life and death service of Cecilia Gentili. No matter how much s/he wanted to be a woman and wanted the world to believe she succeeded, her DNA is male. All the makeup, surgery, and medication do not alter that fact. As the progressive English feminist Julie Burchill wrote in The Spectator, “there comes a point when encouraging men to believe they are women is cruel.” If progressive feminists can see it, surely we who believe we are created by a loving and good God can also see clearly the lie being told.


The reason that I have great hope is not because Christians have any claim to superior intellect, but because Christians have access to the one true God in Jesus Christ. In Him is truth, and we must claim that. Indeed, we must proclaim truth with every breath. Every human ill, from heinous depravity to horrific sorrow, every human ill is met by the God Who can redeem it and make life anew into something beautiful again.


That needs to be our message – unified with other Christians in proclaiming the love of God for an undeserving world, ourselves included. (What? It’s Lent. We each should be making lists of sins that keep us from God, sins that reject God and we enjoy.) It sounds so trite, like children singing and pointing upward, “This little light of mine…” But the Gospel does come down to some very basic truths, and this is one of them. Most people, when they’ve dug themselves deeply enough into a well of misery, will cry for help, and the hand that reaches for them needs to be ours, the children of the God Who gave Himself for us and for our salvation.


We need to realize that, no matter how mocked the message, human beings were created by God for fellowship with Him. That message will never grow old. It will never be untrue. Because God is God and this is His world, there is always hope. When we live in this world as His children, we reflect the light of the Kingdom into the darkest reaches.


Do not be afraid. Do not give up. Do not condemn, but do not accept lies either. Speak the truth in love, and let the light of Christ shine in and through you.


In Christ –


Rev. Elizabeth Moreau

© 2024


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