Connecting with Culture
It’s been said that culture is ‘what we make of the world’, but what does that look like as Christians? How can we begin conversations about what’s goin...
Tragic. Dangerous. Unnecessary.
Tony Blair recently used these words to describe the Afghanistan crisis. Despite the ex-PM’s reassurances that the UK’s sacrifices were not in vain, Blair conceded that gains of the past two decades are likely to be lost.
Melancholy pervades the news: twenty years of intervention in Afghanistan has amounted to nothing. Or so we fear.
But these efforts are symptom-management of something more troubling. Judging by the headlines, ‘tragic, dangerous (and) unnecessary’ suffering seem to be the norm in our world.
We might question whether our efforts to make the world a better place will ever make a difference. The words of a biblical author ring in our ears: ‘all the things that are done under the sun … are meaningless, a chasing after the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
The situation in Afghanistan stirs questions we often do our best to avoid. What if our work is all for nothing? What if the sacrifice was in vain? What if it’s all meaningless anyway?
But look carefully, and you may catch a glimpse of a different story.
A pregnant Afghan refugee boarded her evacuation plane and went into labour during the escape from her homeland. Moments after landing at a German air base, a baby girl was delivered in the aircraft’s cargo bay.
A birth to a refugee, in an unexpected setting, is a Good News story worth noticing.
There’s a force at work in the world more powerful and more beautiful than we’re often shown. The gospel of Jesus tells us as much.
And wherever gospel-affected people apply themselves, their efforts tell the same story – be it in Afghanistan or aisles in Asda, with refugees or mums-to-be, in boardrooms or playrooms. Sin and chaos are pushed back. The power and the beauty of the gospel break in.
This is not triumphalism that turns a blind eye to tragedy. Christians rightly mourn and pray for Afghanistan. But underlying these prayers is a conviction that in God’s story, tragedy gives way to joy. Danger will be overcome by peace. Through the cross, we have hope that what seems like unnecessary suffering will one day be revealed as sacrifice not in vain.
It is not all for nothing.
Programme Leader – Emerging Generations, LICC