Last night, President Barack Obama announced that the United States of America had conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the admitted mastermind of the September 11th attacks on the American people, believed by many to be the most evil terrorist in American history.
Late last night, and into the wee hours of the morning, my acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites expressed fear, relief, joy, indifference, peace, numbness, and even sadness. One Facebook friend asked “is this the end, or the beginning?” Others questioned whether America, and specifically, President Obama would be safe from retaliatory attacks. Many news programs showed Americans celebrating bin Laden’s death, while others reflected sadly upon the events of September 11th.
Just last week, the southeast experienced an outbreak of tornadoes that, according to the federal government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, killed 346 people (and some reputable news sources are reporting an even higher number) across eight states, which is more than any tornado outbreak in the past 75 years. Last night, President Obama announced bin Laden’s death.
A friend posed the question on Twitter, “what now?” And I began to watch the answers, many from respected church leaders, flood my Twitter feed.
I see this historic event, and the tornado outbreak before it, as yet another opportunity for the elect of God to rise up, unite, and LEAD this nation to God. The body of Christ must keep this event, and all others, in proper perspective. This is NOT the time for Christians to rejoice, nor is it the time for us to just go on with our lives as though nothing is taking place. It is also not the time for us to be afraid or anxious.
We talk so much about “advancing the Kingdom,” but when ripe opportunities present themselves for us to really roll up our sleeves, and do the WORK involved in advancing the Kingdom, we sit back and do nothing. As a Church, as a body, we sit back and do nothing. The social networking sites are full of pastors who are putting out various messages – some calling for 24 hour, round-the-clock prayer, some calling for days of fasting, some organizing services (don’t ask me who the offerings will benefit) and other initiatives, all leading in different directions. But imagine how much more powerful and effective our efforts would be if we were all in the same place, at the same time, with one accord. What if we all – every Christian in this country – fasted in the same manner, with the same spirit, on the same day(s)? What if we all prayed the same thing? What if we all shared the same goal and spoke the same “language”? What if we were all like-minded just this one time?
We, the called, aren’t called to wear titles and robes, open churches and sit in special seats. We are called to do. Called to serve. Called to act. Called to lead. This is the time for us to lead. When communities are plagued by gun violence, as my own home town continues to be, secular organizations shouldn’t take the lead in doing something about it. It should be the Church. When HIV/AIDS becomes an epidemic spreading rampantly through communities, the Church should be taking the lead. When tornadoes destroy entire towns, the Church should be taking the lead. When the high school drop-out rate near 50%, the Church should be taking the lead. It is time for the Church to rise up and act.
What now? So many Christians want to act, but are lacking solid, trustworthy, God-inspired leadership. What we need is a Moses. So many of our Moses-types are busy battling their own insecurities and fears, just as Moses himself did. Today’s leaders face the same concerns. Me, Lord? But they don’t even know my name. Me, Lord? They won’t believe in me. Me, Lord? I’m inadequate – I don’t have the credentials, the backing of a large organization, a national platform, a significant title, an endorsement… Me, Lord? I have the wrong accent, I’m inarticulate, I’m uneducated. Me, Lord? I’m an outcast. Like Moses, the ones most qualified by God to lead this cause are the ones most humbled by the daunting task of uniting a very disjointed body, giving direction to a people who are too self-promoting to take on the role of a follower and not a leader, leading people who are too ego-driven to submit to authority, and embracing the spotlight, subjecting themselves to criticism, complaints, abandonment, and betrayal.
And of course, the best known leaders are preoccupied with lustful desires for money, power, fame, and other unGodly exploits.
So where does this leave us? Shall we continue to operate as disjointed, disunited members of this body, accomplishing little more than burning energy? Or shall we unite and advance the real Kingdom? What say you?