Atlantic Caribbean Union

My Wish For The Season: From Union President Leonard Johnson

It is that time again when many in Christendom celebrate what is known or referred to as Easter.
For others, including Seventh-day Adventists, there is a daily focus on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as well as a quarterly spotlight through communion services rather than an annual celebration. However, what is my wish for this season? It is best depicted in an old hymn sung at Christmas titled “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”. I reference just the chorus, as it makes the point succinctly: “O come to my heart Lord Jesus, There is room in my heart for Thee.” Whether or not Emily E. S. Elliott had Christmas in mind when she penned these words is debatable; but it is undeniable that she was impacted by the words “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 NKJV). Could it be that Christmas and Easter are celebrated but not internalized to the extent that they define and radically influence motives, thoughts, and course of behavior? If they are not, then we are simply going through the motions and not being emotionally gripped by the experience.

What is room in my heart?

To have room in one’s heart is to allow Christ entrance. Christ Himself says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20 NKJV). Essentially, this passage teaches that Jesus wants to be more than just a part-timer or a when-you-need-me God. He wants a meaningful and an ongoing relationship. He is in for the long haul and not just for the good times. In another book by the same author, Jesus says, “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4 NKJV). My wish, then, is that there is a greater acceptance of Christ in our homes, communities, schools, and workplaces. If Christ is accepted, then His presence will be felt in all of the above. So wherever one goes, near or far, or in whatever relationship, be it dating, marriage, parenting, on the job, in parliament, and elsewhere, the Christ within is manifested without, so much so that others will remark, “What a change!”

Why the wish?
Well, it must be clear by now that situations and circumstances are bad locally and globally. Consider tyrannical governments unwilling to relinquish power, deadly earthquakes and tsunamis, and unprecedented domestic violence. In the Bahamas, the murder rate is headed to break all previous records unless a change occurs. Law enforcement agencies, the judicial system, and governments are at their wits’ end as they search for solutions. Some are calling for capital punishment, swift justice, and the like. No doubt, these will have some positive effect in the fight against crime and lawlessness. However, one must not be kidded into believing that is it –problem solved. There is a bigger problem known as sin, and Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, best described it when he said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9 NKJV). I need not look at anyone, just honestly look at myself; and in case you missed it, look at yourself in God’s spiritual mirror – you get the message that mankind needs help to temper his temper and to control his ways. Current crime statistics reveal that men and women of all complexion, financial standing, and nations need help, as they are likely to self destruct; and therefore, my wish for Christ to be embraced.

Is the wish realistic?
While some may argue that the thoughts put forth are too idealistic or too naïve depending on who is assessing, the reality is that too many persons are dying violently and apparently without accepting Christ. Additionally, the panic mode, creating fear and anxiety, is cause for concern. There must be a way out. There must be an answer. Could it be that the answer is within reach, but many are overly absorbed with the wrong emphasis and things?
Given Christ’s death and resurrection, all persons who desire to know and understand may experience a real change. A change in attitude and a change in behavior toward that person who has intentionally hurt or inflicted pain! I may learn to forgive others and even myself, but this is no match for humanity outside of Christ. Therefore, my wish for the nation, the world, and you is for Christ to live within your heart. The Apostle argued, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in sins!” (1 Cor. 15:17 NKJV).

Thought to Ponder: “With Christ abiding within, Christ will be manifested without.”