“Okay, who had Yellowstone supervolcano for June?”
The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down in history as a year of turmoil. The internet is filled with this constant reminder, from fear-filled new stories to humorous memes placing each new bizarre “plague” on a betting board and calling them out like bingo.
Coronavirus, economic upheaval, racial unrest, and the never-ending tension of a Presidential election season have combined into a cocktail of anxiety and despair that we are all too aware of this calendar year.
What in the world is going on in 2020? We’ve never seen anything like this before.
Or have we?
A Unique Season?
We are certainly experiencing some unique and particularly difficult circumstances this year, but I believe the combination of fingertip media and our “breaking news” culture has just made us hyper-aware of what has always been true.
While 2020 is certainly overachieving, we have always lived in a fallen world groaning to be made new. This “something just isn’t right” cloud that is following us all around this year has actually been our reality since Genesis chapter 3.
God: Here’s your created identity as a beloved image-bearer and reflector of Me.
Humanity: Thanks, but we’ll just go ahead and create an identity of our own.
God: Here’s your sacred calling as curators and caretakers of Creation.
Humanity: That’s nice, but we will just use all of this to make a name for ourselves instead.
This rebellion created a separation between God and mankind (Genesis 3:23) and set all creation, which was made to draw its life and sustenance from the very presence of God Himself, on a downward spiral of decay and death. So we shouldn’t be surprised by a year of chaos, we should be surprised that we’ve experienced any common grace at all in this fallen world.
The beauty of this story is not how we’ve made the best of things in this sin-broken world, but that God Himself – the very One we despised and rejected – didn’t just kick us to the curb but began a love-driven pursuit to put things right again.
Separated from God we are really less than human, and so God set out to make a way for His presence to once again dwell with His lost creation. This is the entire story arc of Scripture, the “Great Story” that each of us has been invited into through Jesus Christ.
The Great Meta-Narrative
It started with a promise to one man named Abraham and expanded to a covenant people called Israel. God slowly began to re-establish His presence among His fallen people in strategic and veiled ways. The temporary Tabernacle gave way to the more permanent Temple and became the sacred reconnection point for heaven and earth. Ceremony, sacrifice, and fleshly cleansing were the mysterious pathway into God’s presence, which met with a High-priestly representative in the Most Holy Place just one time each year. And yet these were just shadows of the pursuit that was still to come!
God Himself became flesh and walked among us! And while an initial divine reconnection was made possible by the blood of goats and calves, Jesus sacrificed His own blood to permanently right what sin’s rebellion had broken. The veil to the Most Holy Place was torn forever and our permanent High Priest and King sat down at the right hand of God to intercede for us for eternity.
The Kingdom has already come but it’s not yet fully here! The long crossfade between the brokenness that has been and the resurrection that is still to come is the tension in which we now live. Two kingdoms, one sin-dead and one resurrected, now coexist until Jesus returns again. We are the first fruits of what will be in the midst of the death and decay that still remains.
This is our current reality.
The Scam of Human Progress
Let’s not fall victim to the scam of human progress, that somehow our scientific innovation, “woke” philosophies, and enlightened human policies will one day make years like 2020 a thing of the past. Only Jesus can do that. And one day He will do just that.
Years like 2020 shouldn’t plunge Believers into a state of shock and despair, they should stir up our Christian hope of a resurrection promise and remind us that we are not home yet. Jesus is making all things new friends. The Gospel is redeeming and resurrecting all things, including difficult years like this one.
All Things New
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
We’ve always lived in a fallen world, 2020 is just overachieving. But lift up your eyes my friends. You are part of a much Greater Story, one that has a beautiful ending that is still unfolding.