City on a hill
The 2016 Census results are in and, depending on who’s reporting, it’s either a cause for celebration or national mourning. The statistic I hear reported most often is this: ‘Australia is losing its religion’. About one third of Australians now say they don’t have a religion – up almost two million from 2011. Furthermore, those who identify as Christian have declined in number, whilst there has been growth in Buddhism, Islam, and Sikhism.
Watch out Chicken Little, the sky is falling! Or is it? The Living God knows who his people are and his sovereign power is not altered one iota by our census counts. There is no cause for us to panic.
There is, however, cause for us to feel the burden of living in a nation full of people who are ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’. Most Australians don’t know God, they don’t enjoy his forgiveness, and they consequently stand under his judgment. Census 2016 tells me that the harvest is plentiful. We must recommit to the mission of Jesus that others might be welcomed into the family of God.
Census 2016 also gives me hope. Yes, a lower proportion of people now identify themselves as Christian, however I suspect that many ‘Christians’ from previous census data were Christian only on paper. How many had a relationship with the Lord Jesus? How many were being transformed by the Holy Spirit?
If there is now less ‘fog’ in the air, the Light of Jesus emanating from his people, should shine all the brighter. Remember, God is in control. We are a city on a hill.