BY REV. DAVID MERRITT |
An acclaimed series that has captivated audiences throughout and after the onslaught of the pandemic will be coming to an end this summer. In the series by the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things, a group of teenagers face an unknown foe and fight the advances of a sinister force in an upside-down world. So, as to keep up your interests and not give up the conclusion of the series, the series reminds us that the world is deeply complicated and at times deadly.
For believers, the “upside-down world” is a concept that permeates the New Testament. Jesus and his disciples often embraced an upside down view of the world – (to paraphrase) love your enemies and pray for those opposed to you, give without thought of return, turn the other cheek (offer a different option) to those who harm you, and if the choice is to fight – choose to love and not resort to violence. For Moravians, the concept is found in the words of Jan Hus, John Amos Comenius, Luke of Prague, and others who saw their faith as counter-cultural.
Our forebears in the early church were not foolish. They understood that the world can be hostile and dangerous. But the choice of believing in Jesus and living one’s faith in God should take precedence even when it meant facing persecution. Jesus saw the whole world as a world worth living and dying for as the Savior. And the church, when it has been true to its calling, has found hope in following the way of love in matters both great and small.
Living as a faithful witnesses to the Savior led the Moravian Church to be an “upside-down people” in a world where many were unsure of its methods. They lived among the slaves as a testimony to their faith, settled in foreign lands, claimed no extraordinary privileges, worked and witnessed as missionaries, and brought education, medical care, and music to those often seen as less than those who set in power. As people who knew the love of God for all, our Moravian ancestors paved the way for us now to accept a new version of our own upside-down world.
As we move into the summer months, our vision of what can be as a church might be a bit skewed from all the rhetoric around us in society and in our own backyards. I would hope that we can live out our own upside-down calling to serve Jesus as we serve others in His Name. Who knows, “Stranger Things” have happened!
About the author
The Rev. David Merritt is a retired Pastor, former Dean, Outreach Director, and Chaplain, but he’s “papa” according to his grand-kids. David loves God, Laurel Ridge, and his family. He has enough sense to get out of the rain but prefers raindrops anyway.
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