One of the things that happen as you get older is that you start to be ruled by fear. You have more to lose: the young have no possessions, and when they fall they don’t break, they bounce. Kea comments that the young as just as fragile emotionally, and even more fearful.
They say that they are comfortable, they cannot move, they do not want to go where they are going to be of use. The world, at this time — as we lockdown again for a virus — reinforces a sense of isolation and loneliness and powerlessness.
The young want to move forward. But the old need a word. So listen not to me, but the words given to Jacob at the end of his life.
Leave Canaan, though it is promised to you. In Egypt you will become an army, and you will indeed have the land.
25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
46 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here am I.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”
5 Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.
33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honour by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Often it is not us who has the courage, but Christ. if Christ tells us to go somewhere, if we have that calling, he will provide the knowledge and the skills and the resources. It will not be of us. You don’t get courage from looking over much at the media of this time.
If you look at your current fishwrap, then you would think that Christianity is a dying religion for morons and old farts. But if you go to church in a hired hall on Sunday, this old fart will be there with some of my mates praising God that we are the gray haired scattered among the youngsters.
But the church teaches Christ crucified, sexual purity, tithing, service for all, and accountability for all leaders. They are not afraid of the press, or social media: they correctly see them as the enemy and the cure is to meet and talk in real life.
Besides, the world hates us anyway. So we might as well praise God. Who knows? In this time of crisis, as the surety of the state fails, as relationships died for the sake of ideology, then we may find people returning to Christ, for he alone is left.
We Will be kicked off platforms. We will be denounced. But through this, let us not listen to our fears. Christ said in those days he would put the words he wants said in our mouth.
So take courage. Christ has conquered evil. For that the world hates him. And he calls us not to fear, but to power, holiness, righteousness, and self control.
May this be for us all.