Some post Easter streams of consciousness (mixed with a little Game of Thrones from last night's episode):
“Our enemy doesn’t tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel.”
The first Easter was revealed, quietly, away from most public eyes. Those with no standing in society, its only testifiers, its only witnesses. (The women if you're trying to guess whom.)
And this got me thinking, last night, with season 8, episode 2 of Game of Thrones there was an interesting juxtaposition to our memory of that first Easter morn. As the brave leaders of Westeros, the very diverse band, many now enemies become battle compatriots, Jon reminds them: “Our enemy doesn’t tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel.”
The NT tells us the cross was the place, the moment in time, where the powers (visible and invisible) has been disarmed. The resurrection of Jesus is God's declaration that all his foes and enemies now vanquished. Still, we have a battle on our hands. A battle for the souls of each person–eternity is at stake for each one. A battle for the honor of our King of kings. Yet, I am left feeling whether the sleepy, rights-oriented, deserving-everything-but-not-working-for-it, comfort-driven, beauty-focused, war-adverse, hard-things-relunctant, and deserving millennial and z-Gens actually grasp that, as Jon of GOT reminds, “our enemy doesn’t tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel.”
The discipleship now being expected and taught from millennials and z-Gens is probably incapable of developing the character needed to take on the battles to come. Most discipleship of younger people is by design and by default to help "me" be more skillful and content and happy in negotiating the idolatries of both our secular world and the Christendom world in which our current church-life exists.
There are signs that things are changing for the church, if you are willing to notice: seminaries and seminary sites closing or down-sizing, church-buildings around the world being demolished, blown up, or abandoned, the secularization (and politically partisan use) of Christian language being used to justify alignment with the state (and/or a vision of the state), and the list is growing . . . while some of this is good for the church, making it less dependent on current Christian industries and systems (that are not necessarily biblical), they do spell trouble and danger for the church in days to come. Again, remember, our ultimate foe, “Our enemy," he and they do not "tire, doesn’t stop, doesn’t feel.”
So, what do we do . . . well, a call for millennials and z-Gens to get biblically serious and that a far better understanding of "church" be had (developed). For, if I read my Bible and (especially) NT correctly, it is the local, gathered-church applying the cross in its midst is the place and space where we do battle with the powers (visible and invisible).
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.