The present political, economic, moral and healthcare turmoil is not new. It reveals the fragile and conflicted reality of human nature. It points to the “present darkness” that resists the light of love and truth. In Ephesians (6: 10-19) St. Paul’s admonition is for the Christians to prepare for battle with the weapons, both defensive and offensive to counter the cultural and spiritual opposition to the Gospel. He reminds us that when we let the world set the moral and spiritual agenda we come under its judgment and failure.
This present darkness seems to me to be very similar to the late 60s and early 70s. Society was in upheaval over the war in Vietnam. Crime and civil discord were rising, as was violence and the tearing down of social institutions. In that hour of confusion and social breakdown God opened a window of fresh air into the church. A spiritual renewal countered the social gloom and pessimism. A new Pentecost arrived. It was that same wind that shook the upper room and enlivened the Apostles. It was the same hurricane of the Holy Spirit’s power that shattered the power of the enemy. And I believe it is on its way to us today.
There is only one way to change, heal and transform the human heart. Jesus is the way (Jn. 14: 6). The first thing to do as Paul says is to “Stand firm” and expect the revival and renewal that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit and that ushers in the new creation. In that upper room, the church gathered to pray for the Holy Spirit to come as Jesus had instructed them. So must we also stand together and pray for a new Pentecost, ready for the Holy Spirit to breathe the life of renewal and revival into the church and to bless us with the power to overcome “this present darkness” and to stand together in the victory of Grace.