I woke up on Easter morning, the day of all days when we celebrate the resurrection of the Christ the Son of God, the greatest event in history. It is the day we rejoice in God’s victory over sin and death, the forgiveness of sins, the removal of our guilt and the promise of eternal life with God. What a day for a party! But, then I turned on the ABC news.
After about 12 items, finally Easter got a mention. It went like this-
“Easter Sunday is when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and churches are expected to be filled”.
That was it. Well you may say what is the problem? Isn’t that a true statement. Yes it is, but take note of two things-
i. The greatest event in history only rated twelfth in the news headlines.
ii. The news reader felt it necessary to explain the meaning of Easter day to the national audience.
This is what it has come to in a country founded by a Christian nation, with Bible based laws, and the Christian mindset its shaping influence if not its religion. Now Christianity has so become an irrelevancy, a fading anachronism, a vaporizing mist in the national consciousness that its central celebration has to be explained to a biblically illiterate society pushing God to the margins.
Yes, I woke up on Easter morning to celebrate, but was actually once again reminded by the national news that we are at war! Not with North Korea (yet) but against-
“the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this
dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the
heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12)!
The question is who will fight this war, this battle against the flood of pagan, increasingly atheistic humanism, this tide of hostility against those who dare to speak for Christ. It requires that those who claim to be Christian understand that just turning up at church on Sundays and maybe going to a bible study is not what Jesus calls disciples to. He calls for total commitment as soldiers in his army, commitment that is prepared to be wounded.
Our times are much like those of the Roman empire is which Christianity was birthed, our missional context is now much like that faced by the 19th century missionaries to Africa or Asia, but with one difference. That is the level of outright and growing hostility that we face. Indeed, while Christianity is dismissed, derided, considered irrelevant, most importantly it is seen as dangerous. At least the “Powers” have got this right, for true Christ-serving Christianity is most certainly dangerous in its opposition to the godless state, it has been so for 2000 years, since Jesus said “the ‘World’ will hate you”.
The resurrection of Jesus is not only the symbol and the ground of our undeserved salvation, but the start of a war, one intensifying in the West. So, while we wake up on Easter morning with joy and celebration at the resurrection of the living Son of God, our salvation, we also wake to the battle. Currently it is a battle that (unlike elsewhere) in this country, and the West in general, the church is losing.
This Easter, fading in the cultural consciousness, has been a reminder that ‘steady as she goes, business as usual, she’ll be right and keep on ‘doing church’ as we’ve always done it, is just not going to cut it in terms of the future of Christianity in this land”. A fact demonstrated by the reality that in the media and in the public square Easter is of only low level newsworthiness, and so vague in public consciousness that its central festival needs explanation. It is in fact is now like the smile on the disappearing Cheshire cat of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ a faint memory of what was.
It is time to wake up to the fact of the battle, and the need to ‘unbind’ the church (the mission of this site), to set it free to become a truly missional church, a Spirit-powered army of God to fight “The good fight” for the glory of the resurrected Christ.