The Church of Chicken Little

ImageHere’s what will happen. Maybe you’ve already been through it. Or maybe you’re living it even as your eyes scan these words.  I don’t know what will trigger it—I’m no prophet—but I do know, sooner or later, something will.  The company you’ve poured your heart and soul into goes belly up. Your spouse slips off her wedding ring, puts it on the counter, and slams the door forever behind her. The details will vary. But in that moment, and in the days and weeks—maybe even years—that follow, you’re convinced that the sky is falling, and your life is basically over. Draw the curtains, turn out the lights, the party’s over.

I’ve been there. As have many of you. It hurts. It’s frightening.

And it’s highly deceiving.

Oh, yes, deceiving. Because as bad as it does get, as much pain as it does inflict upon you, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s not even close. It just feels that way. But if you’re not careful—as I was not careful—you’ll become so overwhelmed with all the bad stuff going on, you’ll spend so much time staring up at the sky that you’re convinced is about to fall, that you’ll forget you’ve still got work to do, people to take care of, vocations to fulfill. Your world has changed, to be sure, but it is not over.

The same applies to the church, perhaps even more so. On a recurring basis, Christians spot news headlines that signal yet one more moral collapse in society, the growing paganization of the cultures in which we live, the spread of antipathy toward the faith. It hits social media. Facebook becomes transformed into everything from an online pity-party to a preaching-party, lamenting or decrying all these wicked goings on. Twitter explodes with 140-or-less character doomsday-sounding predictions. And in pulpits across the land, pastors have plenty of fodder for their Sunday morning sermons.

But if we’re not careful, if we become so engrossed with the flood of divorce, the spread of gay marriage, the holocaust of abortion, the loss of religious freedom, and countless other very legitimate concerns, we’ll end up sounding more like the church of Chicken Little than the church of Jesus Christ. We’ll give the impression that our central message is not “Christ crucified” but “The sky is falling.” We’ll forget that we’ve still got people to take care of, vocations to fulfill, plenty of work to do.

And that work, that mission, is not to save our culture from moral collapse, nor to raise up law-abiding citizens, and especially not to spend all day, every day, whining and complaining about the loss of the good ole days. The mission of the church is to bring sinners into communion with the life-giving, sin-forgiving, salvation-imparting flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.

Until the sky really does fall, that’s the work God has given the church to do. Let’s do it.

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8 thoughts on “The Church of Chicken Little

  1. wcwirla on said:

    Amen!

  2. The persecutions of Nero, Diocletian, Decius. The Muslim invasion. The burying of the Gospel by Rome. The Protestant reformation. The state churches. World wars. Persecution of Chinese Christians, Syrian Christians, Coptic Christians. I say all of this not to minimize the horror and pain of personal apolcalypses, I’ve been through several, but they have been rather minor compared to the actual persecutions of the saints, and each time I was laid low, it really was an apocalypse, a revelation. It was in one of these lows that God pulled me into His church. No silver linning proverbs, not every tragedy has good in it, but yes, we do survive, and through the grace of Christ the Savior we prosper, even if it is just the strength to endure this tribulation until the parousia. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

  3. Sam Pakan on said:

    Amen, again! But let us not relegate ourselves to picking up the pieces of lost civilization or even those individuals crushed by the collapse. The church can also be pro-active in mitigating future horror. Let’s join those ranks as well. After all, we know the Truth.

  4. Thanks, Chad, I needed that! We Lutherans should know better than to blur the lines between the two kingdoms, but we often don’t. The line in the trailer for the Jesus movie caught me, “We’re going to change the world.” Wait a minute! Jesus never said that! He didn’t set about to change the world but to save sinners. There is no redeeming this sinful world. It’s destined for the ash heap, literally, so why do we stress about it so much? The Church may be reformed [in the Lutheran sense], but the world can never be, just as our sinful flesh cannot be. These must die. The sooner we get over that, the sooner we can live as we ought.

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