Paul?s Letter to 21st Century Christians

Dear Readers, I received a letter this week that is written in Greek that I have translated and would like to share with you. It is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and it is addressed to: all my brothers and sisters living in the 21st century. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

For many years I have longed to see you. I have heard a great deal about you and all the marvelous things you are doing.

News have reached me that your scientific and technological advances are phenomenal. You have at your disposal automobiles so luxurious that the average man in my day would never have conceived such a possibility. I have heard about your ingenious skyscrapers and huge builders. I understand some folks become a bit dizzy and faint, just looking up at them. It boggles my mind just contemplating the fascinating achievements you have attained.

It is my understanding that your medical strides has made it possible for you to cure in the twinkling of an eye, the plagues and diseases that would destroy us by the thousands. All of this is wonderful. You can do so much more in your day than I could do in the Greco-Roman world of my day. Your educational facilities and advantages are superb and beyond compare to any other time in human history. You can travel distances in 5 days that in my day, required 5 years. All of this is marvelous.

And what is this I hear about that high-tech deluxe jumbo jet called Air Force One. I'm told it's a floating mansion with sophisticated and extensive electronics. You have computers and cellular phones that make it possible for you to contact just about anybody in the world while cruising tens of thousands of feet in the air. All of this is simply fabulous.

Let me not forget to mention that I have also heard, but can hardly believe, that scientists have successfully cloned animals and human cloning is not far off.

I am a staunch believer in progress. I believe in development, I believe in growth and advancement. I think all of these are splendid. But I wonder if your moral and spiritual progress has kept up with your scientific and technological progress. From what I have been hearing, your spiritual progress lags far behind your technological progress. It seems to me that you have plenty of talent ? but very little ethics; lots of gossip ? but little Gospel; prey on bad news ? ignore God's good news; play too much ? pray too little; fine houses ? very few homes; lots of lust ? very little love; talk too much ? testify too little; lots of churches ? few temples of God; lots of formality ? little spirituality; lots of beliefs ? no faith. And what are these Situation Ethics I keep hearing about? In my day it was, children obey your parents. But it seems like you all have changed it to; parents obey your children.

I am proud to hear America, that through your political genius you have managed to make your world a neighborhood. I understand that you have been able to establish working relationships with far away countries and that is beautiful. But it is tragic that with all you have at your disposal; you have failed to make it a Brotherhood.

Oh yes, my brothers and sisters, you have managed to produce the ultimate in scientific knowledge. In my day in my wildest imagination, we never would have thought of the invention of nuclear bombs; that deadly weapon that can be dropped from a plane on the heads of millions of people and can set the whole world on fire with the press of a button.

You live in an age of technological genius. But I also heard the other day that you live in an age of longing, age of anxiety, age of suspicion and fear. You live in an age in which people are afraid to defend the faith for fear of offending disbelievers; an age of compromise and acceptance and tolerance for the intolerable. You live in an age where all representations of Christianity in the work place, schools, community and government offices are considered inappropriate and to be reserved for the private home environment only. So it seems like you have plenty of genius but no wisdom. Therefore I find it necessary to write to you to remind you; in the midst of all your great knowledge and advancement, of the responsibility laid upon you to represent Jesus Christ in the times in which you live.

In a time when man's inhumanity to man has reached chaotic proportions and destroying the very foundation of ethical values, we need those who are willing to take a stand for Jesus Christ.

You are the salt of the earth; you are able to be a light in the midst of a dark world. You have become one the richest nations under the sun. You live in a land that flows with milk and honey. You have eaten from grapes that you did not plant; you live in homes that you did not build, and yet I hear the painful cries of people all over the world dying of starvation.

Therefore I, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, deem it necessary to write to you to inform you that God is still sovereign Lord. It seems to me you depend more on pills than you depend on God. I understand you have invented pills to come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and taste. You have a pill for just about everything. But it is strange that out of all those pills, there is not one that will prevent a person from lying and cheating, stealing and killing.

Well, that being said brothers and sisters; I encourage you to take a stand for the Lord. Live or die, survive or perish, stand on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18. NIV)

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him- to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27 NIV).

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: A Grief Healing Workbook, will be available soon.

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