It takes supernatural aid to get over the compulsion first to cancel God, and then to cancel all the rest of one’s fellow creatures. The only person none of us is willing to cancel is ourselves. And so we are divided from each other, isolated, tearing the world apart in every kind of way.
Well, this is pretty exciting. We are going back to IRL church this morning—a lot of us anyway. Some will stick with couch church for a while, some will worship outside, some inside, it’ll be like having campuses. It’s going to be great—and also complicated and maybe even a little bit stressful. The main thing, as we’ve contemplated this eventuality for a whole week but really three whole months is that it’s not really fun, it doesn’t really feel like church if anyone is missing. We want to all be together in one way or another. That’s one of the main things about it.
Which is a main thing for the Christian life in general—the desire to be all together in one place, to always return back to that singular moment on the day of Pentecost, or even all the way farther back to the garden itself before cancel culture became the essential human experience. Not being split apart, not having to go away from one another because of circumstances or jobs or illness or, worst of all, death is the heart of the church. Somehow being with Jesus is also about being with everyone in the church—everyone. Except really never everyone, not until Jesus returns.
Christians, in other words, aren’t in the business of cancelling each other. My children keep hearing this word, “cancel,” and I’ve had a hard time explaining it. It’s when you’ve done something wicked, basically, or someone discovered some past indiscretion, or you have said the wrong thing according to the virtues of the moment, and you can’t be forgiven, and on the internet, there is a hue and cry. You are “cancelled.” Perhaps you will lose your job. And you might be kicked off of twitter. And many many people will have nothing to do with you anymore. It’s such an interesting thing to have happen to so many, especially after several decades of “inclusion” and “diversity” being upheld as the highest goods.
Cancelling does get right to the nub of the issue, though. Wicked bad things ought not to be tolerated. Also, wicked bad things do happen. And they come out of the insides of people, though we would like very hard to explain the bad things away by the systems those bad things destroy. Adam and Eve, given the opportunity, did their wicked deed. They rejected their creator, their God, the source of their life. They “cancelled” him. For their own good and eternal safety, God expelled from the garden, clothing them, going with them, preparing a way for them to be restored to him and to themselves
But we don’t generally see it that way. From that first ugly sinful moment, the prevailing human narrative became that God had “cancelled” his creatures, when in truth it was the other way around. From then on, who is cancelling who is thrown back and forth across the internet and the cosmos. God doesn’t desire to cancel anyone, if they would only turn to him and be accepted as they really are—sinful, dependent, needy, hopeless.