Tonight, the 87th annual Academy Awards will be held in Hollywood.
Expected viewership in this country will be in the tens of millions.
Meanwhile, half a world away, ISIL / ISIS continues to slaughter Christians at an alarming rate.
The older I get, the more I’m trying to see things from a spiritual perspective, to follow the words of Colossians 3 and to set my mind and heart on “things above” rather than things here on earth. I don’t want to come across as someone who has all of this mastered; far from it. I’m still struggling to be faithful to this command.
And I don’t have a particular axe to grind with regard to Hollywood. I could just as easily have written this post on Super Bowl Sunday and made the same point.
But I’ve come to believe that much of American culture — our politics, media, music, sports, etc. — is Satan’s tool to distract me from the spiritual reality of the kingdom of God. The world is in the throes of a great and cosmic spiritual struggle…and I’m being lulled to sleep by the siren song of frivolity. Just think about the percentage of conversations we have that are concerned with things that have absolutely no eternal significance. I have to wonder if the church in the United States isn’t getting dangerously close to the situation that Amos spoke out against in the 8th century BC. Amos, a down south shepherd from Tekoa, was called by God to preach a message of repentance in the northern kingdom of Israel.
Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile, and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away. (Amos 6:4-7)
Consider this post my attempt at working all of this out in my mind. Consider this my repentance for not being more grieved over the ruin of Joseph. According to NT scholar Clarence Jordan, the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:4 (Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,) carry a sense of grieving over the state of affairs in the world. Christ followers should be grieved over the many daily injustices that are committed against fellow believers. Moreover, we should mourn every injustice carried out by the forces of darkness and this grief should prompt us to respond in ways that bring comfort.
Today my prayers are with followers of Jesus around the world, particularly in places where they are being called to risk much for the sake of the Kingdom. May our Lord give you strength in your inner being and power through His Spirit out of the wellspring of his glorious riches (Eph. 3:16).