My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2 ESV)
The Christian culture that most of us have embraced here in America is everything but Christian in any real sense of the word. It looks and sounds nothing like what Jesus taught and looks nothing like the example that Jesus set down for us when He was with us physically.
Most of what we teach is centered around what He can do for you and how much blessing you can receive. It focuses on meeting perceived needs to the neglect of things that truly matter. Mercy is sacrificed for bigotry and justice for vengeance. “Love your enemies” gives way to the endorsement of preemptive military activity and the idea that God is “close to each one of us” is replaced by the notion that He is not with “them.”
And yet, through it all, as we live in direct contradiction to the ways and teachings of Jesus and His first followers, we find ourselves confused as to why He isn’t protecting us from the storm. No matter where we look, He isn’t there. We read the Bible and find nothing but archaic laws that make no sense and sound at time unjust in their own right. We ask God why He has forsaken us, but could it be that we have forsaken Him?
Nietzsche said that God was dead. My guess is that for many who claim to be Christians He is. Their needs aren’t being met, they can’t get along with the guy next door (because he is gay), the war that they baptized is showing itself to be something other than what they were told it would be, and God is just not in that. These men and women have killed God.
But this doesn’t have to be where it ends.
One day Jesus was teaching and some of his followers asked Him how to pray. Mingled in that prayer was a very bold statement. A subversive statement.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 ESV)
The way to change this, the way to bring God back to life, is to start a revolution. It may start in the heart and soul, but it doesn’t stop there. We have asked and asked for God’s kingdom to come, but He wants us to help Him establish it.
Doing so will not be easy. Doing so will mean tearing down some walls and trampling some courts and turning over some tables and calling some religious leaders out. Doing so will undoubtedly get us killed. But that is okay. To be absent from the body is to be with the Lord, after all. And blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Living as citizens of God’s kingdom rather than man’s empire will not be popular. But, as the old adage goes, what is popular isn’t always right, and what is right isn’t always popular.
God can (will) be brought back to life. God can (will) show His face again. But these events happening is, in some sense, contingent on us. We are the body of Christ, after all.