I’m just trying, try
Maybe someday I could fly
Looking down at the cold cold city
The calm cool skies
And the bird are humming their rhymes
And the creeps are planning their crimes
The graffiti walls standing tall
And the church is waiting for God’s big sign
– Mediterranean Waters, Steven Delopoulos
Evil is loose on the world violence and destruction seem to mount up on every horizon, and yet the Church seems somewhat inactive. I think one of the most destructive theologies to enter the modern Church is the view that the world will get progressively worse until Christ returns. We have cultivated a defeatist mentality in the Church; pagan culture is running rampant and all we can do is stall the inevitable. We sit still waiting for God’s sign to act, while forgetting that the Resurrection was the Great Sign (Notice that John’s Gospel uses of “sign” to talk about Jesus’ miracles). That mysterious moment was the Ruin of the Beast and the great overthrow of evil. We seem to have lost track of the fact that Christ’s victory is not a future event it is an accomplished fact. God has given us the sign that evil is defeated and that we are meant to clean it up, and that sign is the Resurrection. And yet, the only signs people seem to be looking for are those telling us the world is ending (ironically because evil is winning).
No we are not going to achieve some social Darwinian utopia through hard work and human advancement. We as humans have proven again and again that we are incapable of removing society’s ills on our own. But the church has a power to overcome evil and we so often sit back and watch, content that evil has not broached our doors. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, surrounded by calls for justice, our government is full of bullies and liars; yet I keep hearing Christians talk of the mark of the beast. Evil is on the loose and we are wrapped up in some misguided notion that what John saw two thousand years ago on Patmos was a microchip. I have seen people sharing and discussing how the pandemic will lead to the mark of the beast and what the church needs to talk about is how to end the pandemic. The worst of it is the preachers who are circulated the most are the ones who have been promising the end of the world for decades (well eventually they’ll be right).
This is all foolishness; after all Jesus said two things, “BE WISE” (Matt. 10:16) and “YOU DO/WILL NOT KNOW WHEN I WILL RETURN.” (Matt 24:36). I am paraphrasing but you get the point. Anyway, if the mark of the beast is about loyalty and choosing sides it can hardly be a hidden or deceptive program, right? The beast is about open bravado not subterfuge. So can we lay these theories aside until there is some hard evidence.
Can we start looking around at the damage evil is wrecking in our society and step up to confront it. Can we start looking at our neighbors as people in need of my love and God’s instead of as potential enemies? Can we recognize the sign has already come and that we are missing it?
God has already promised to work through the Church to eliminate evil, why are we content to have this world destroyed before we have completed that mission. Paul was not content unless he spread the gospel around the world himself, why are we so content to see evil in our neighborhoods? We are letting little distractions get in the way of our mission. We need to stop looking for a sign and start looking at the signs which we already have. After all, we have already won, there is no victory left for evil, STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT. Start to look around and ask how you can stamp out any evil around you.