by Ramone Romero.
It seems that now there is a kind of lull in the momentum of the church at large in America. For decades she has poured her efforts into achieving political power. It culminated in being raised to the mountaintop during the last four years, after electing a leader who promised power to the church, if only she would support him.
And support him she did, in spite of his obvious greed, unrepentant immorality, dragon-like words, and his demonization of others (particularly his mocking of the weak and the ‘least of these’ such as the poor, foreigners, and oppressed minorities). At first many may have had a pang of conscience, but rationalized it as necessary to bow down in order to achieve the goals they sought through political power.
They may have rationalized that he could be influenced and changed. That she could hold him accountable. But instead he remained the same, and the church had to bow down repeatedly as he demanded more and more support (and praise). Having sold her soul once was not enough. She had to sell it again and again. And having done that so many times, she found that she had put all of her hope in him. She made herself afraid with conspiracies and countless fears of what would happen if her immoral champion were not re-elected.
She taught support for him from her pulpits. She prayed for his will to be done. Her prophets prophesied his victory. She sanctified his place and his causes, such as the imprisonment and breaking apart of refugee families. She allied with enemies of Christ’s ways such as white supremacists.
When he stirred up undeniable violence, and her prophecies failed (even as she tried so hard to have faith in them and make them come true), she had to pause.
Now she is in a time of pausing, in a lull.
Now she is at a crossroads.
She has been on the broad, wide path of “the way of the world” instead of the narrow way of the Golden Rule, the way of Christ’s command of agape love—love one another, even enemies, as He loved us while we were His enemies.
Some among her are shaken by the failing of her prophecies. Many see the predictions as the only wrong. Many are pausing only to regroup, to take stock only to ready themselves for continuing back on the broad road. To get back to “winning”—back to power. Back to victory over all who do not share in what she has devoted herself to: the desire to achieve her ends through power.
She stands at the crossroads. One way, the narrow way, beckons with a quiet voice of conscience, the Spirit and the gospel, calling her back to the way of the Cross. The other way is the broad way she has been marching on. The way of Barabbas and of Ahab.
Now she is in a place of unrest, having worked so hard and expended herself to achieve a place of rest through the pursuit of power and control. She does not have the rest for her soul which can only come through the way of Christ—following His commands of agape love. In His mercy God has frustrated her works, forcing her to pause so that she can hear Him implore her to return to His way—to pick up the cross and carry it.
The way of the Cross calls for repentance—repentance for having left the commands of Christ’s agape love, which led her to bowing down for power on the mountaintop.
Will she persist on the broad path, or choose the narrow way of agape love? Will she be baptized with repentance, or continue in her ways—in her journey away from the Way?
In the past God frustrated His people, for a little while, so that He could speak to them in a time when they had similarly been following the idols of their hearts instead of His commands:
“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16)
As it was in the days of Jeremiah, so it is for the church in America today. Should she continue on her course, devoted to her idols and to power, she will invite the consequences of her pursuit. When we seek and use power in the ways of the broad path (which wound multitudes), it will return on us when others fight in the same ways without mercy.
Many times in history God’s people have rejected His way, and He has allowed them to be humbled, often with great pain. In seeking power to avoid pain, to avoid repentance and carrying the cross, we don’t believe Him that His burden will actually be light and bring us rest for our souls. We don’t believe Him that the world will recognize that we belong to Him through His agape love alone. Instead we seek the crown and ride out of His presence—away from the throne of mercy—as conquerors bent on conquest. And sorrow and suffering follows in our wake.
I pray for her during this time of pause. I pray for her to choose the baptism of repentance and the way of the Cross.
Whether she does or not, as has always happened, I know that there will be a remnant who repent, who do not bow the knee to Baal, and who testify as witnesses of His grace and way agape love, dressed in the sackcloth garments of repentance for what we have done in His name to the nations at home and abroad.
I know Jeremiah and the prophets of old knew that, as well. But still as he did, I lament for the choices she has made and may likely still make. And I pray for her on this day to know what would bring peace.
For those who can see, this is what I hear now in the Spirit:
My people are standing at the crossroads,
wanting to continue pursuing power,
but I have stopped them for a moment
so that some of them can awaken.
Pray for those at the crossroads,
for those who can still hear
the gentle voice of My Spirit
calling them to repentance.
Stand at the crossroads with Me:
cry out to them and for them;
remind them of My way;
call them back to their first love.
Carry My heart for My people
who have been walking away from Me,
for I love every one of them dearly,
and I want them to have rest in Me.
Stand at the crossroads
and weep with Me
for My beloved bride in America,
and for the peace of the nations.”
Ramone Romero is an artist based in Osaka, Japan.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!
2 thoughts on “The American Church Must Choose the Way of the Cross”
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