In my 37 years on earth, never has there been a happier New Year. As we say farewell to 2020, I can’t help but think back on a year that seems too much to believe at times. While a new year does not magically change everything going on in the world, country, or even our lives, it does make way for a symbolic fresh start. Which we can use to press forward.
It is 3:30 am, January 1, 2021. Happy New year.
As I reflect on 2020, I am much more aware of how ensconced I was in survival mode. Not a physical survival mode of needing the basic necessities to live like too many here in America, let alone the world. Rather, an emotional survival mode, which I believe if each one of us was honest, many would share the sentiment.
Again, while a new year doesn’t just make things right or new, neither does a year like 2020 actionably take power over us. However, blaming 2020 is easier than really unpacking what is happening. Essentially the powers and principalities of this world seem to be winning. They have us right where they want us, arguing amongst each other over two sides of the same coin.
During this year, my family lost 2 aunts, sisters, mothers, wives to battles with chronic diseases. My grandparents also moved in with my parents because of declining health and now my grandmother resides in a care facility because her dementia has taken a turn for the worse. We all would rather mourn the loss of our freedom to go out in public without a mask.
As I went to sleep last night, I turned off my devices. Actually turned them off. Not just sleep mode or airplane mode, but powered down, off. I slept well and then woke up. But not just that “I gotta pee in the middle of the night” and can’t get back to sleep type of woke up. I felt stirred, wide awake. I believe we have all felt the “funk of 2020” and while it has been a journey of many months on this road of “waking up,” it might be time to avail oneself against the powers and principalities of this world.
Before you label me “one of those socially woke Christians” take time to read through scripture more thoroughly. For if you do, you will find—as did the Psalmist—that “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you” (Psalm 89:14). As you read through scripture, you should find that righteousness and justice go hand in hand.
As James would assert, “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). The church, or the religion of Christianity, is large in number in America. Not just in the amount of people who claim it, but also in the large buildings we attend on Sundays and the estimated $1.2 trillion given in a year. While this number might be slightly skewed due to the large pool of churches/Christian branches used for research, the fact remains, the church has plenty of money at its disposal. Yet, most communities are fully reliant on the government to survive.
In June, the “life group” my wife and I are a part of started down a road of really digging into the Biblical understanding of justice. Because we are generally all older millennials, we had to put a hashtag to this movement in us, “Hearts Broken, Eyes Open.” As we have journeyed together on understanding God’s heart for Justice, we hope that we can do our part in this battle between the kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of this earth. For we know, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).