It is common in the church today to hear that these are dark days. The world is full of greed, the lust for power and control, the idea that the individual is supreme, and tragedies such as war, disease, and oppression. While much of this is true, dark days are not common only to our time. For those that lived through world-changing events, such as the Depression or the World Wars, their times were certainly filled with dark days. This could be said of many events in mankind’s past. For the Ephesians that Paul was writing to, the days were filled with persecution and they lived within a pagan culture. These were dark days as well.
As each generation of Christians face the dark and evil days in which they live, the questions are the same: how will we face these days? And, how will we respond? Today our answers are just as important as they were during the bubonic plague of Europe or during the more recent AIDS epidemic in Africa or at any other time in the church’s history.
Some voices call for the Christian to retreat within the walls of our churches and homes, to live largely in isolation. Venture forth only when absolutely necessary. Other voices call for more aggressive measures such as protest, boycott, and other forms of condemnation. Through these and other political actions these voices call for Christians to play the world’s game of power and control, just with our own Christian agenda.
Paul’s advice to the Ephesians was to understand God’s will. Christians never were or are called today to run from the world. Nor are we called to fight with the world. Instead we are called to follow Jesus. Jesus’ life was God’s will lived out in the flesh. We too are called to live as God’s presence in the world sharing His love, goodness, mercy, righteousness, truth, justice, and forgiveness. We face each day knowing God’s presence in and will for our lives. We respond by sharing God with others.
Scripture reference: Ephesians 6: 18-20