I confess have a favorite movie—Babette’s Feast*. Like Jesus, Babette prepared a feast for a village of enemies—of each other. The table is set with mercy, peace and reconciliation. I hope you’ll watch it someday. Near the end, Old Lorens, a surprising character in the story, offers a great toast…
“Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another. Man, in his weakness and shortsightedness believes he must make choices in this life. He trembles at the risks he takes. We do know fear. But no. Our choice is of no importance. There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.” —Old Lorens Lowenhielm, Babette’s Feast
*Rated ‘G’, French-Danish, with subtitles
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
There are some things ‘Mordor’ can’t touch—all darkness is fleeting. From everlasting to everlasting the star will shine in all its beauty. And us with Him.
His love endures forever.
Now that’s hope.
“THERE EXIST BEINGS WHO…spend more money, waste more time, take more trouble, than would be required for ten good actions, and that gratuitously, for their own pleasure, without receiving any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity…Why? For no reason. A pure passion for seeing, knowing and penetrating into things. A pure itch for talking. And often these secrets once known, these mysteries made public, these enigmas illuminated by the light of day bring on catastrophes, duels, failures, the ruin of families and broken lives, to the great joy of those who have “found out everything,” without any interest in the matter, and by pure instinct. A sad thing. Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity for talking. Their conversation, the chat of the drawing-room, gossip of the anteroom, is like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly; they need a great amount of combustibles; and their combustibles are furnished by their neighbors.” —Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
The world feasts on fireworks served daily by those who love to watch the world burn—a blue-plate special of flaming bad news and gossip full of all kinds of artificial ingredients.
When will it end?
Jesus is coming.
What can I do?
Bring a heaping course of truth to the table—it’s full of all the Good stuff—hope, life, salvation, Jesus. Show it, tell it, live believably.
Though many have lost their taste for truth, it’s still the main course—and we’re still the waiters.
“Christians often explain away miracles for the sake of being rational about things… They acknowledge the God Who Created Everything, but find it difficult believing that this same God would occasionally suspend the natural laws of His own creation for the sake of His glory, because it’s ‘not rational’.” —Zachary Jason McCarl
Pray big—rationality not required. God still parts seas.
“Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, they reject the Bible because it contradicts them.” —Paul Harvey
“My truth” is just another way of saying “The real thing offends me.” Actually, the real thing saves you, and it’s plain as the print on the page.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” the Apostle Paul asked. The question itself is the answer…
“God is for us. Paul here arrives at the mountain height of the Christian position! And that, so to speak, by way of experience. He does indeed, in the word “us” bring all the saints with him. There was first our state of awful guilt and Christ’s work for us, and justification thereby. Then came knowledge of indwelling sin, and the Spirit’s work within us, and deliverance from sin’s power thereby. Now Paul has arrived upon the immovable mountain-top… and sees God Himself FOR us! Not at all meaning here that God is merely on our side in out struggles, but God’s uncaused, unalterable attitude with respect to those in Christ. God is FOR them! Nothing in time or in eternity to come has anything to do with matters here. Our weak hearts, prone to legality and unbelief, must with great difficulty receive these mighty words: God is FOR us! Place the emphasis here where GOD places it: on this great word “for”. God is FOR His elect. They have failed, but He is FOR them. They are ignorant, but He is FOR them. They have not yet brought forth much fruit, but He is FOR them. If our hearts once surrender to this stupendous fact that we are those whom God will be eternally FOR…whose lives do not at all affect the fact that God is FOR them, then we shall be ready to magnify the God of all grace!” —William Newell (emphasis in the original)
There is an unassailable star gleaming in the night of the world—a hope shining beyond the reach of any looming shadow, be it personal, political or spiritual. It is there, though clouds obscure it, and it will remain when they are forever banished.
It used to be that Hippies and Beatniks (remember them?) were America’s counter-culture…
“As Christians [in America], our challenge is to go back as close as we can to the Gospel and truly be the church. Increasingly, we’re likely to be a counter-culture. As that happens, we will be the last great defenders of reason, truth and human dignity, with the task of defending [the Faith] not just theoretically…but practically, as the early church did… Our privilege will be to repeat that story in our time.” —Os Guinness (World Magazine interview, June 29, 2013)
Our passports say “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Our culture is Jesus.
We are light in the darkness at noon.
Far out, man.