When John the Baptizer raised the head of Jesus out of the water, his main work was over. Jesus took it from there. The big event in the desert became a side note in the gospels from then on.
The American church would do well to grapple with that shift. When we squint back into the history of the church—the universal church of all followers of Christ—we see sand blowing through where the “center” used to be. Where once towers to Christian influence soared, there are now tourist attractions geared toward snapping pictures of the artwork. Where once monks and pastors got aching hands from writing about the faith, there are ruins of monasteries and castles.
The Holy Spirit reaches where He will reach. He does not follow our human lines of prestige and influence. America has no greater claim on the center of God’s work than London or Rome or Constantinople or Alexandria did. Our blogs and books make us no more the focus of the gospel’s impact than what the Church Fathers penned.
Instead, God uses those willing to decrease—wherever they may be found. The dying small towns of America. The slums of Mexico. The underground church of Asia. There’s no center—there’s only boundless grace.
America matters. It matters because God’s still breaking dead hearts and giving new ones. But the gospel explosions are happening elsewhere.
Let’s pray for the places God’s kicking up the dust—and that we’ll see the same here once again.
[H/T to Dr. Jonathan Martin for inspiring this title and idea.]