How do we stay across what’s happening around us without being sucked in to the drama and losing our focus on being the salt and light Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5:13-16?
Give me an interesting issue, the right dialogue and monologue, unique and interesting characters, a clear theme and a good plot, and you’ve got me.
Today, drama is everywhere, not just in novels and movies. Scroll through the comments of social media posts or letters to the editor on contentious issues, and you’ll soon see the sparks of differing opinions flying freely!
Then there’s the news that seems to be more often speculation and agenda-pushing than unbiased and factual reporting. It was interesting to read a recent ABC article describing the drama-filled coverage about Donald Trump as “intoxicating” and that our fascination with it as being like “eating too much ice-cream in one sitting”.
So how do we stay across what’s happening around us without being sucked in to the drama and losing our focus on being the salt and light Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5:13-16?
Theologian Karl Barth summed it up well:
“Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both.
But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” (Time Magazine, May 1, 1966)
We can’t just take in the news and try to figure out what to do about it on our own. Nor do we just keep our head in the book, and shut the doors to our churches and leave personal experience aside. We need a contemporary voice with the wisdom that Scripture provides to interpret life in light of what we know about God, as revealed in Jesus. Then, the themes of God walking alongside us, welcoming us, including us, forgiving us, healing us, raising us and sending us become the interpretive lens in which we engage the real world around us with all its corruption, pain, division, violence and suffering.
The truths told in the ancient stories in the Bible are just as relevant to our modern lives filled with technology and diverse ideas as they have been to former generations. Stories of jealousy, selfishness, greed, destruction and betrayal—these populate our own headlines today, and stories of compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice and faithfulness are needed now as much as ever before. The constant voice of Scripture within those ancient texts is one of discernment— asking where is God in all of this, and where is He leading us?
So our task is to pay attention—not just to the world around us; but to God’s story entering our own lives and experience so we can better engage our neighbours’ concerns and challenges.
And we must continue to leverage this great opportunity these same technologies give us to reach out to people everywhere to help them know the good news of God and encourage them to look to Him each day, just as we are doing together through Vision.
‘But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”’
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:13–16 ESV