We loves youse all

I am having an Elijah moment. I think maybe you are, too. Not the Elijah moment when he called down fire from heaven and routed the prophets of the false god Baal on Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18 will give you a refresher). But the Elijah moment in the next chapter, when Jezebel the wicked queen seeks revenge.

We find Elijah, afraid, in a cave, on God’s mountain. God speaks in a quiet whisper, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replies, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:14)

Elijah did not have to feel alone. It did not reflect reality.

Well, we are not in caves but many of us are in isolation. And the Elijah moment I am talking about is less about being physically alone, but more in feeling that we have fewer and fewer comrades. Elijah felt he had none.

God gives Elijah tasks (two new kings to be anointed, and a new prophet also to be anointed). When I have been depressed I have found being given tasks a great help. Maybe I can tell that story someday.

But God then gives Elijah some very good news. “… I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)

Maybe Elijah felt a little foolish at those words. Or comforted.

Elijah did not have to feel alone. It did not reflect reality.

And perhaps we do not have to feel so beleaguered. We do not have to feel so much that we are members of a group shrinking to societal insignificance.

We Christians have imbibed the spirit of polarisation that is widespread in western societies. Somehow, how we vote now seems foundational. Somehow, what we think on the issues of the day are seen as reflecting the very core of our being. What we think about Scott Morrison, or Donald Trump, or what sort of lockdown we should have.

Eternity has an unofficial motto: “we loves youse all”. We stole it from boxer Jeff Fenech (and Christians will be divided over the issue of boxing as well, I guess).

We loves youse all. We know you vote for different parties. We know some of you think climate change is the single most important issue, and others think abortion is. We know some of you want to be on the streets to protest racial equality and others to march against COVID lockdowns. My everyday work at Eternity sadly sometimes consists of Christians who do not listen to each other. And sometimes, it even includes Christians who think those who think differently to them cannot be Christians.

But across those divides we are sisters and brothers. We have new life in Christ, and we have been joined with him – and therefore to each other.

And in Eternity, that is the most important thing.

That does not mean there are no challenges, no things to discuss, no boundaries to our faith. After all Jezebel was out to get Elijah. But she did not.


Some prayer points to help

Do we love our sisters and brothers? Pray for a Christian you find hard to like.