Armodoxy for Today
We have dedicated this week of Advent to exploring theodicies, that is, what does it mean to believe in a good and just God, especially in the face of evil. We were prompted by the lesson of the week from Luke 13.
Today, we apply theodicy and decipher a practical theodicy. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” We begin to understand ourselves as part of a process, part of God’s royal family, and in so doing we begin to understand that the kingdom is not about prestige and honor but about accepting a responsibility of being human and created in the image of God. In other word, solutions that are found outside of us, reduce or nullify a very important component of our humanity, namely the ability to interact and share in the love is God. We pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is more than a wish, it is the understanding that we are the inhabitants of earth and therefore, if His will is to be done, it is with our participation.
The world around us is filled with the much pain, and suffering is everywhere. The evil we experience in life has many causes, some brought about by people, others by life circumstances. The Christian is called to be Christlike. Jesus came across people who were suffering from illness as well as those in deep pain over losses brought about by tragedies in life. He reached out, comforted, healed and restored. We would like to do the same, of course, but are not confident of our ability to do so because we are overwhelmed with the magnitude of evil in our lives.
Reach out. Comfort. Heal. Restore.
Applied theodicy is about applying what we have learned as an answer to evil. Before Jesus healed and restored, he reached out and comforted. Reaching out is the first step a Christian is called to do, and each of us is capable to doing so.
During the Advent Season, we have a very special evening dedicated to the remembrance of one of the greatest evils, namely the death of children. On the second Sunday in December, we gather and remember those who have passed before their time to live. “Children’s Memorial Day” is an opportunity to come together, offer ourselves, and bring semblance in a time of disaster. For a parent that has lost a child, whether to illness or to accident, comforting them may seem impossible, so then begin with the first step, reach out. It is simple action that mimics the actions of our Lord. He reached out. Comfort will follow and begin to understand how God uses people, in this case you, to bring about healing and restoration. You begin to understand that indeed the Kingdom of God is within you, and as a member of that Kingdom you are honored with responsibility.
Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We are only half-way through Advent, and already the pieces are coming together. Each day builds on the lessons of the previous day. To be Christlike is to accept responsibility to overcome the hardships, the evil, of this world.
We pray, the words taught to us by Christ, “Our Father who is in heaven, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory. Amen.”
We continue our Advent Journey next time and I look forward to doing so with you.