If you're reading this blog, I assume that you are interested in having your identity, security, and meaning in Jesus Christ. If this is the case for you, you likely feel like you live on an island within a sea of paganism. I had this sense yesterday, when I went to Target. I looked at the people around me, and there were just so many observations that indicated they would not have their identity, security, and meaning in Christ. Granted, this is a form of profiling, but as Christians we take our profile seriously; from what I could tell, no one was profiling Jesus.
What I sensed at Target is what Christian writers have talked about for awhile now: we live in post-Christian America. Indeed, up until about 20 or so years ago, Christianity enjoyed a privileged status in The USA. The values that created that status now have turned against the Christian Church in American, and many Christians feel like an island in the midst of a pagan sea. For my parents' generation, the contrast from the world in which they grew up and now is like day and night. Perhaps some scripture will help us:
John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
It is clear that throughout Jesus' ministry, he shows antagonism to this world. It is cursed by sin and destined to die. It needs to be created again. His people need to be called out of THIS world and ushered into the NEW creation. He is the means by which this happens. When we are IN CHRIST, we are no longer IN this world but HIS new creation; remember what St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
So, if you feel angst about the present world around you, good! Jesus has captivated your heart and mind and called you out of it. What we see and experience around us shouldn't feel right. The question is, "Whence comes peace?" The answer is simply profound: in Christ. Christ comes to us through His means, which He gives to his people, the Church. Do you want peace and not angst? Come to church, where Jesus gives himself freely to His people!