The headline caught my attention: “Presbyterian Women have annual brunch, celebrate Chinese New Year’s” but the brief article broke my heart.* Thirteen Presbyterian Women gathered in the church social hall for their annual brunch wherein “Each member received an envelope containing several Chinese good luck symbols. A strawberry shortcake in the shape of a snake highlighted the buffet table in honor of the ‘Year of the Snake.'”
You remember the snake. He makes his first appearance in Genesis 3, a story known as “The Fall.” The serpent is known to be a crafty liar who leads people into temptation. There is a God-ordained enmity between the woman and the snake, unless, apparently there’s strawberry shortcake involved.
According to pagan Chinese astrology, the year of the snake is dedicated to clever schemes and to the use of whatever means are necessary for accomplishing the aims and goals of the most calculating people. Even the Chinese fortune tellers know that the snake provokes two diametrically opposed reactions: hypnotic devotion or utter revulsion. Like Eve in the garden, these women were not sufficiently repulsed by the snake’s allure.
Snakes are referred to negatively throughout the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament and the snake is understood to represent Lucifer, Satan, the enemy of God. So, why would any group of God-fearing church ladies even consider having a celebration of the Chinese New Year featuring the exalting of a snake? Because it’s all just for fun. Indicating that they have lost all sense of the very real spiritual warfare being waged over their souls.
I am certain that it was all done in good fun and some would say that no one was hurt. But I contend that anytime the people of God fail to honor God, the witness of the Church is lessened. The glory due His name is diminished. The first and second commandments are broken. The enemy of God is lifted up and the Son of God is bruised on the heel.
Yes, that heel has in fact crushed the head of the lying serpent, but the point remains that the followers of Christ ought not be trifling with pagan practices, no matter how silly.
The world is sufficiently confused already without Presbyterian Women trading Chinese good luck symbols and celebrating the year of the snake. And the world is watching. This story was posted in a community news site that all the world may know what the Presbyterian Women of one church had done at their annual brunch. Is there not a more faithful witness for Christian women to broadcast to the world?
“But they are doing good,” some will contend. And yes, they did “collect quarters for the mission project Quarters for Safe Births,” but the witness borne out to the community where they live is tainted by confusion in their failure to discern between the spirits of Christianity and the Chinese Year of the Snake.
* I am intentionally not linking to the article because my goal in surfacing this issue is not to embarrass the women involved. My goal is to raise our collective awareness at how undiscerning we have become and how easy it is to wander into the Enemy’s playground.