Henk Medema

Who's Got the Whole World in His Hands?

The day started as usual, with the Word, with prayer, and a couple miles running. That usually wakes me up. Today I also listened to my favorite worship website, and picked up very traditonal lyrics, which I remember from the time of Mahalia Jackson: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. It did stick with me, while I was reading the news, and started working on my mail, a few books that I am developing as a publisher, a new media project, a trip to Denmark, and received several phone calls, not all of them with good news. And indeed, while I was also working on LausanneCT2010. The whole gospel, by the whole Church, to the whole world. It made me think. Who’s got the whole world in his hands? Me! – that’s what many politicians would say, or would want to say. The French president, Mr Nicolas Sarcozy, is of the opinion that he has at least France – if not the whole world – in his hands: visiting Grenoble, he ventures some strong judgments about ethnicity and crime. The Dutch neo-liberal Mr Geert Wilders has the idea that he has at least Holland in his hands, and he steers towards a situation where he will be free to offer any strong statement about islam and muslims, and not only come away with it, but directly influence the government. Who’s got the whole world in their hands? Us! – that’s what Christians do not say audibly, but there are some traces back in remote corners of their heart, invisibly perhaps. There is a very real danger of those thoughts hovering around LausanneCT2010. We ‘have’ the whole gospel, do we not, us Christians (and we thank God for it)? We are the Church, are we not, us evangelicals (‘by grace’, we say)? We have a right view on the whole world, and who else but us is able to help this poor world (‘by the power of the Spirit’, we add reverently)? We pity the world, but part of this attitude is not real compassion, but arrogance. We don’t pretend to have the whole world in our hands, but we think we’re getting close. With LausanneCT2010 only a few months away, we’d do better to start learning true humility. Which means a lot more than just the state of our souls, but also the framing of our minds. We need to be radically critical about our own mindset. There are philosophical words for that, but they are connected with postmodernism, and many of us think Christianity is rather congruent with modernity. It is not. The Christ who is at the center of Christianity emptied Himself, and came close to us as a servant, without the least form of pretense. Let’s humbly acknowledge that it is in the hands of the Son that the Father has put everything in heaven and on earth.

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