Just about every church, denomination and business wrote a 2020 vision statement at the turn of the century. What could be more poetic? I'm sure the plans included growth, efficiency and technology upgrades but no one planned for a future that included the COVID-19 plague, rioting and a nation divided politically.
God created the world and on the sixth day. He looked around and said it was good. He'd created humanity in His own image and told them. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
He had one rule and the first humans broke it. As a result a curse fell on them and all creation. War, disease, pestilence, violence and exploitation would become the way of the land. (Genesis 3)
Later we are reminded that humanity was created in the image of God but Adam “had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.” (Genesis 5:3)
Evil multiplied and filled the earth. God regretted creating humanity and destroyed it in a flood but Noah found favor and was saved with his family along with a remnant of all creation. (Genesis 6:11-14)
Thoughts of the end of the world proliferate at times like this. The world seems to be ripe for Christ's return. We hear of wars and rumors of wars, hunger, natural disasters, immorality... It sure feels like the end is near.
After Jesus' resurrection, the disciples gathered around the risen, triumphant savior and asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
God's plan has always involved blessing humanity. Following the flood, he declared again that humans were made in God's image and issued a new order to multiply. (Genesis 9:6-7) When called Abraham, God said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
When become followers of Christ we become new creations (born again.) God reconciles us to Himself through Jesus Christ and turns over to us this ministry of reconciling the world to Him. We are Christ's ambassadors. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
In times like these we a-re called to continue to be Jesus' witnesses, obeying his call to “make disciples.” (Matthew 28:18-20)