As I write, I wonder, "Has it only been five days?" For months, constant information bombarded us. It focused on the enormous debate about the justification and essentiality of a war. The debate continued so long it made many insensitive to the arguments. It assumed the atmosphere of an "academic" discussion, not a "reality" consideration.

Then war actually began. Information bombardment from an academic discussion was replaced with military images of a virtually unopposed border crossing. Accidents, not skirmishes, were the danger. The process and progress amazed us.

Then the images changed. Casualties and POWs became reality. The cost was no longer dollars, but lives. The changed images escalated. Many different viewpoints interpreted those images as the entire world watched and commented.

Many American people and many in the church have lived in isolation for a long, long time. Neither as a people nor in the church do we naturally think of ourselves as a part of a world community. We are bewildered when large numbers of people (at times including nations) distrust and dislike us. We are the good guys who believe everyone should be free and prosperous. We are the compassionate ones who are the first to respond to humanitarian needs. Why would anyone not like us?

Both as a nation and as a church, we have enjoyed almost six decades of the luxury of living in isolation. We have nourished ourselves with our isolation. No longer is that an option. No longer can we pretend "that is the way it is." The world is much too small, and we are only a part of it. We are just one part of a world community.

What does that mean for Christians? A lot! First, it means we must earnestly ask what life is really about. Does God the Creator really exist? Is He really the most important reality in our lives? Must He really determine how we live and what we are about? Is the primary concern of life really what happens after death? Is the resurrection really real? Is accountability really real? Is the judgment really real? Spiritual realities must move from the hypothetical to the real.

Second, we must realize life's fundamental concern must return to a common truth: death is real. It does not occur on our terms at the time of our choosing. Life is not about lifestyles, entertainments, pleasures, homes, furnishings, cars, careers, or economic security. All of those can be dramatically altered instantly. It is about preparation for death. It is about God's forgiveness. It is about meeting God after the physical ends.

To waste life is the ultimate folly. To base life on the temporary embraces that folly. It is essential to focus our thoughts on matters we too rarely consider from reality's view.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 30 March 2003

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