Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Breaking down safe walls

The New Year came with a keen knowing on my inside that we are in the final lap of the earthly race and as it is with a physical race, the unexpected can happen at any time. The good news is that as believers, we already know what to expect and are meant to prepare for it. One of the things I am certain we can expect in this season is a more vociferous attack of the enemy against the church.

In one of those rare moments when the world around me is silent and my mind is tuned to things of the Spirit, an analogy that was startlingly apt dropped in my mind. Now for you to understand what I am going to describe next, you might need to go looking for the television anime series titled, “Attack on Titan”. The series is a cleverly written manga production that has spurned a commercial line up of a movie and a series of comics and light books.

Attack on Titan tells of a tale of giant humanoids who invade earth and for reasons unknown to its inhabitants, delight in eating human beings. To protect themselves, the humans build three sturdy walls over 80 meters high and for the next hundred years focus all their energies on living inside the wall. In the course of time, the memory of the outside world becomes a distant ding and they all settle down to a monotonous existence. Interesting, there are few who question the wisdom of living within the walls as they grow up. One of them, the main character, Eren, constantly talks about life outside the walls and is viscerally upset at the thought that people are contented with living and dying within the walls.

One of the most astounding parts of the series for me is the team put in place to ensure the safety of the citizens. The team is meant to have been undergoing training drills in the event that the titans do breach the walls. These drills have been ongoing for 100 years with generations of men living and dying without actually getting to execute their military prowess. The years that pass make the tale of the titans appear as a myth and things such as the training drills are done with as much heart as a robot learning to love. When the titans do attack eventually, the military is so unprepared it is ridiculous. An entire village is literally trampled underfoot and the streets flow with blood.

Now, like I often say, blood and gore is not my typical scene. In fact, most of the time, I shut my eyes in horror each time a titan tore the head off someone or tossed a limb away. It was that horrific. But, in thinking about it I realized that those people could very well be our modern day church.

We more than anyone else, know that there is an enemy lurking outside the walls of the church that seeks to take us apart limb by limb. An enemy that will stop at nothing to make sure that we fall down and stay down. Yet what do we do?

We get comfortable within the walls of religious activity and religious language and hope that if we are quiet enough and busy enough, the enemy will forget that we exist. We forget that the four walls of the church are meant to mark out training ground where we hone our skills for defeating the enemy and instead make the entire training process look like some routine that needs to be done for the sake of appearances. We attend weekly and Sunday services so that we are religiously correct, we underline passages from scripture in church in our bibles or notepads to show that we are following the teaching from the pulpit, and yet hardly read the word when we are alone. We give to have our names registered and we are members of several groups so that we are not tagged bench warmers.

We live in a way that makes us die, separated from the true essence of the life that the blood of Jesus purchased for us. Meanwhile, the enemy is outside the walls of the church, wreaking havoc, looking for weak spots in the walls so that he can come stampeding and when he does, we sit down in the midst of the desolation asking God, “why”? “Why me Lord? We forget that God did not call us to stay in the walls of the church in the first place, that his first call to us as believers is to go and make disciples in his name. We forget that though we might forget that we have an enemy, he has not forgotten us, and that his very breath is a promise to see us suffer.
Just like the series, the knowledge of the enemy and active preparation for his invasion will help us stand in the trying times that will come. Paul speaking about the Devil boldly states, “We are not unaware of Satan’s schemes”.

It’s time we stopped hiding behind the walls of religion and come out into the dark. For light to have any impact, darkness must be present. We have not been called to be safe, we have been called to save. 


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