Introduction — What you are about to read was a Facebook post. I was so moved by the clear language here that I wanted to put it on record. Thanks to Dr. Monica Northington for allowing me to share her words with the world. Her words are here as posted.
I think we do our Lord a disservice when we depict Him as some long-haired, sandal-wearing, daisy-chain-making hippie. Jesus wasn’t some weirdo beatnik traipsing around Judea with His band of merry men, passing out lollipops to the people and trading bubble wands for Roman swords. He was the King of Glory who came down from Heaven to rescue His creation. He was the God of Heaven made flesh, clothed in the dust of the same earth He created. He didn’t just stay in the high heavens and tsk tsk what He saw happening down below. And He didn’t just come to earth and coast along on a skateboard cloud proclaiming “It’s above me now.”
No…Jesus made Himself INto an earthly vessel and dwelt UPON the earth, just like us, to show us how to exist and live Kingdom in and on the earth. YES, he said of Himself that He was meek and lowly in heart. But please don’t get it twisted. Our Messiah was no wallflower, doormat, or pushover. YES, He taught love, but He preached a RADICAL message of love and justice that upset the systems, authorities, and power structures of His day. NO, he never intended to stage a coup or to overthrow the civil government. He never told His disciples to gather their swords, stones, and clubs to sack Jerusalem. But He did teach them to gather people and change their hearts. In doing so, Jesus turned societal and cultural norms on their head. And when He saw the believers being bamboozled by the moneychangers in the Temple, he exercised His righteous indignation and turned some tables on their end, too. That took power. And while we’re talking about power, remember what He told Pilate? Even in the face of public execution, Jesus was THE example of power, love, and sound mind.
Two thousand and twenty years later, and the church—the Body of Christ—is still wrestling with exercising its power in the earth. How do we perfect our FOLLOWSHIP of Christ in a time of crisis? What does Christ’s law of love require, and how do we walk it out in a world where injustice, hatred, inequity, and sheer wickedness seems to hold sway?
The easy “churchy” answer is “just pray about it and don’t worry about it.” We resign and say, “let go and let God.” I’m sure there are a thousand other “churchisms,” “catchphrases,” and clichés that could be applied. And don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with prayer. Prayer IS a weapon. There’s nothing wrong with surrender. Surrendering to God’s will is paramount for the Christian walk. But I don’t think everything is quite as simple as putting “bad” things out of our minds. And I don’t believe Jesus would have ever advocated an out of sight, out of mind approach to the difficult circumstances and events of life.
Earlier today, I wrote that being a citizen of Heaven doesn’t absolve you from your responsibility to do justice and love mercy here on earth. Setting your mind on things above doesn’t mean you disregard the things happening below. You are not of this world, but you still live here in this world.
I get that everyone is not the same. Not everyone is cut out to lead movements or even be on the front lines as part of them. Not everyone is comfortable being vocal about controversial matters or being highly visible when everyone else is up in arms. Not In real life and not on social media. If that’s not your lane, that’s fine. Be silent if you must, but please don’t take up space in the fight or impede the sister or brother whose calling *is* to be out there swinging right now.
The world is in trouble right now, especially America. Humanity is in a fight of its life, and I’m not just talking about Black folk, although we always seem to bear the brunt of things. #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, and #AhmaudArmery have our attention right now, but as horrific as these cases are, I’m not solely focused on them. I’m not even talking about the COVID-19 pandemic, the current occupant of the White House, or the upcoming election. It’s all of these things. It’s everything going on around us, and what we as the Body of Christ don’t get to do is wring our hands and act like there’s nothing we can do about any of it.
Yes, by all means, use the weapons of our warfare. The enemy isn’t really other people. Our ultimate enemy isn’t natural, he is spiritual, and our biggest battles are fought and won in the spirit realm. But…BUT…if you are to follow Christ and model Him IN the earth, you have to understand why He came to earth and what He did while he was here. “He never said a mumbling word” during His trial before the Sanhedrin, but that was pretty much the ONLY time He DIDN’T have anything to say. Christ spoke VOLUMES in His earthly ministry, and He is still speaking to us through His Holy Spirit today.
Read God’s Word and see how Christ showed love for the least and the lost. Discover how He championed the cause of the weak and challenged the systems of the mighty. Look beyond what you’ve seen in cinematic depictions Jesus and see a real Savior who gave up everything to save and restore the lost to a relationship with the Father. See the Redeemer whose heart still aches whenever we disregard the life and the dignity of our fellow man. See a God who loves us as human beings, each equally created in the image of the One we say we serve. See how He took up a cross to pay for our many sins, and see if you can’t manage to pick up a pencil or a cell phone to write a letter, sign a petition, or make a call to defend someone without a voice. Remember how Jesus ever lives to make intercession for you in Heaven, and see if you can’t spare even a minute of your otherwise peaceful and prosperous day to find out what’s happening in the world of the not so peaceful or prosperous.
Oh, Christian, you have a duty. You have power, and you have an inheritance to live up to. While you live and breathe, be like Christ. Be salt and light in this world. You are the only Jesus some people will ever see. Will you choose to make Him famous? Or will you choose to be silent and hidden from the world?
Featured Contributor. A native of Natchez, Mississippi, Dr. Monica Northington is retired from her pediatrics practice and works as a private medical consultant. She lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.
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"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
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