It is perhaps a severe understatement for me to suggest that pessimism is the mood of our time. Many people in our world brood over recent events, like the beheading of the reporter by ISIS.
I have a friend who sad he was going to stop watching news on television and listening to it on the radio. He sad that he was so depressed by what’s going on in our world that he was going to take a leave of absence.
I’m sure there are many people like my friend who would like to take a leave of absence from the troubles of our world. It not permanently at least for a while; to retreat into some remote corner of apathetic indifference, isolated from the general confusion which tears at the heart of our time.
But this present mood of pessimist is now a new mood. Fear and pessimism is the mood in which we find the prophet Elijah in the nineteenth chapter of 1st Kings. Elijah had witnessed the founding of his culture crumbling away. He has just been through a costly war with King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, and he has taken his troubled world to heart.
His mood is blue. He is about to give up on his world. He is ready to yield to despair and throw in the towel. And so Elijah sits down under a broom tree. As he sits there Elijah says, “I’ve had it. This world is too much for me. I’ve had about as much life as I can take. It is enough. Now, O Lord, take my life away.”
There are many people in our world today who are ready to cry out like Elijah. “It is enough, O Lord. I have had about as much of like as I can take. Now, Lord, take my life away.” It seems to me that in such a time as this, if we are to maintain a firm hold on life, we must possess a faith which can match our present disenchantment and despair. We must possess a faith that will match it with courage and hope and confidence.
The greatest thing I know which can save people from despair in a world like ours is faith in the divine purposes of a sovereign God. Faith in our world demands belief in a power and a purpose which is greater than our own.
Faith in our world also demands a personal commitment to active service-to some cause. Doing nothing always produces despair. Look at Elijah. He gave up on life. He threw in the towel. He sat under a broom tree and said, “Lord, I’ve had enough. Take my life away.”
The Lord said Elijah, “What are you doing here?” The truth is Elijah was doing nothing. He was sitting there in his discouragement and despair. To rouse Elijah out of his despondency-as a cure for his despair-God gave Elijah a definite job to do.
The voice of God speaks to us today at Lincoln Temple. “What are you doing here?” God says. “Don’t despair over your world. Invest your life in something worthwhile.” Instead of talking about how weak and irrelevant the church is today, rise up, get busy and make it great.
Don’t complain, don’t despair-take an active part in the affairs of our church and community. It takes all of us together. Anointed with the spirit of unconquerable Christ, we make our presence felt-recognizing that we are all inter-connected and interdependent. We make up our mind to be a part of the answer to the world’s great demands and needs.
We join in the divine purposes of a sovereign Lord who restores our faith in our world. We open our hearts, unfold our hands, stand on our feet and we get busy for God.
Written by Rev. Tendai, the interim senior pastor.