In 2014 the newspapers The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for breaking the story “in tandem” of the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance operations. The stories in the Post and the Guardian relied on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Snowden’s actions combined with the reporting of the newspapers served to bring out into the light for public knowledge what the United States Government had been wanting to keep to itself: that the NSA not only aggressively collects personal data on all U.S. citizens but also on many of the rest of the people who live on Planet Earth.
All of this serves to remind us that truth does not belong to any individual or institution no matter how powerful, self-interested, or ‘benevolent’ they are or appear to be. Christians are servants of and witnesses to the truth which cannot be kept hidden in the dark but must be made known in the light of day. St. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:11-14: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.”
To serve Truth means to stand in Truth’s light. It means to submit our lives to God’s penetrating gaze, allowing him to remove from us all that is dark (evil) and replace it with all that is light (good) (Ps. 139:23-24; Hebrews 4:12-13). To serve Truth also means to speak Truth’s message, especially to those who are in power and who have an interest in keeping the truth covered up. The ultimate allegiance of the Christian is not to any state or nation but to the Kingdom of God which judges every human pretension, corruption, abuse of power, lust, and greed. In his day the prophet Isaiah spoke truth to power when he confronted the corrupt wealthy on behalf of the poor: Isaiah 5:8-9: “Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. 9 The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.” Isaiah boldly confronted the wealthy and powerful who aggressively ate up more and more property for themselves and who thereby squeezed and trampled the poor and needy. Isaiah was a servant of Truth.
We must also be servants of Truth. How can we bear witness to the Truth in our own lives? How can we allow the Truth to transform us? How can we serve the Truth on behalf of those that the powerful oppress? Let us all think on, pray about, and act toward the truth this week.