The Enemy, capital "E", is afoot.
Seizing opportunities afforded by pandemic and politics, by vicious murders and violent mobs, he prowls like a lion.
He wields the weapons we've granted him: the echo chambers of social media, the tribalism of modern America, and the potent mix of hatred and fear which often drives us.
And the church, the bride of the King, is bloodied. Torn by the lion's teeth.
Old and young seem increasingly distant and hostile toward the other, unable to hear or be heard.
Our communities, ecclesiastical and geographical, take sides with a deeper anger than I've ever seen.
Local elders run into impasses, unable to operate with the unity they used to know.
And the masks...those ever-present (or non-present) symbols of our disunity...the masks seem to be his icing on the cake.
What can we do? We can't not disagree. We can't pretend we're okay when we're not, that we agree when we really don't. We have to have the big, hard conversations.
So what can we do? We can trust Jesus.
And we can trust Jesus together.
We can trust Jesus alongside those we're debating. We can begin and end our arguments with faith in the righteous King.
We can be sure that Jesus' is the only "right side of history" and have the humility to be confident that our views often don't match His.
We can rejoice together that, wherever the current issues lead us, Jesus is the one about whom Isaiah prophesied:
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth:
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
(Maybe pause and read that again, because we need to hear more Bible than our own words right now.)
The promise of Jesus' victory means we don't need to seek our own.
The promise of Jesus' righteous judgments means we can have hope extending well past the latest letdown from our civil leaders.
The promise of Jesus' wisdom and faithfulness means we can disagree while leaning on the Spirit of peace and faith.
And that's what we need. Faith.
Faith that trusts the King and seeks His kingdom first and last.
Faith that trusts the King to do what is right and to change whatever minds and hearts need to be changed--especially mine.
Faith that doesn't demand uniformity before practicing unity in the body of Christ.
Faith that lets us argue while standing on the same side, because we are.
Faith that believes what the Bible says about faith: "This is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith." (1 Jn. 5:4)