I read in the news recently how scientists have made some advancement
in the technology that makes objects invisible. A ‘cloak of invisibility’ has
long been the stuff of legend and fantasy. But now, it seems, researchers have
demonstrated that they are able to engineer materials that redirect light waves
around a three-dimensional object, effectively making it invisible. They have
also made similar breakthroughs with sound waves. More and more, it seems that
what was yesterday’s science fiction is becoming today’s reality.
Sadly, although these inventions might have a peaceful application,
technological breakthroughs are often made in the context of war and
aggression. We human beings have an insatiable appetite for weapons that are
ever more sophisticated and for the assured means to protect ourselves against
them. As Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 59, the nations of this world do not know
the way to peace. Weapons are a major item in world trade, and the principal
export of some economies. There are governments that force their people to live
in poverty, or even starvation, while they spend their resources on building
By contrast, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and his Kingdom’s ‘principal
export’ is to show the world the way to peace. As Jesus reassured Pontius Pilate,
the Kingdom of God did not pose a military threat. “My Kingdom is not of this
world,” he said. “If it were, my servants would fight.”
However, Jesus did not intend the establishment of his Kingdom to be a
covert operation. He said, “You are the
light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people
light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it
gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine
before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in
heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
The Kingdom of God has no need for a ‘cloak of invisibility’ that bends
light so that we cannot be seen. On the contrary, we are called to a life of
visibility—a life of reflecting the light of Jesus so that the world may see
him in us.
However, sometimes I think that some of us could make good use of that
other technology that suppresses sound waves. Sometimes the noise we make gets
in the way of the light we are called to reflect. So much of Christian
communication seems to be inspired primarily by John the Baptist, Elijah or the
Old Testament prophets. Isaiah 58:1 says, A large part of their
responsibility was to “cry aloud and show my people their sins.” Some
Christians seem to regard their primary service as condemning the sins of
others, being accusers, and holding others in contempt.
But such a posture fails to even fully reflect the calling of these
prophets much less those who know and live on this side of the finished work of
Christ—who has inaugurated his Kingdom of righteousness and peace with God and
our neighbors. The Gospel will always call for repentance. But our primary
message should be about grace, forgiveness and the transforming power of God
made available to us through the work of Christ.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.