“You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive,’ or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity.’ [But] In a sort of ghastly simplicity, we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis
We all want a better world—in fact we really need a new one. Someday. Until then, the world isn’t the problem, rather it’s the people shaping it, who crave a perfect world while rejecting any perfect, benevolent, loving standard. That’s where Jesus’ followers come in. We aren’t Him, but God is making us to be as much like Him as anyone can in this messy world. He’s often hated—and that means we will be, too—He said so. But in a world of “men without chests” we bring a beating heart of purpose, love and salvation to an increasingly turbulent generation. Until He comes, we are what the world needs—because we bring Him, all of Him, plus nothing.
The world is starving itself. Bring the fruit.
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.
There are people in this darkening world who are admired more than others, even when the darkness is great and imposing. They are of little worth to the status quo, yet they shine like stars. They are you.
“If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that abhorrence, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little—even at the risk of being heroes.” —Sir Thomas More, from the play, “A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt
Stand fast, mighty one of God—be the hero.
The world doesn’t need more Christianity. Really. It needs Holy men and Holy women who shine in the darkness because they are with Jesus and He is in them and it shows. They are alive and of another world ruled by an invincible King; they practice a heavenly culture and speak the language of eternity and salvation; and they are thankful—always thankful. They are often hated when life is good and sought out when it goes all wrong.
St. Patrick understood this, and wrote it down in a marvelous prayer…
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me
Christ in the eye of everyone that sees me
Christ in the ear or everyone that hears me
I want that—O, I want that.
Blessings from Ireland,
I found this in an old transcript. It took my breath away…
“Nothing can extinguish it. To the end of time it shall be there and shall always manifest itself, and men must never lose heart because of that. All [mankind’s ideas and struggles to create his own utopia] are absolutely worthless—the society in which utopianism is the great pursuit is the one who is about to commit suicide. The great guarantee that human life is always worth creating, always worth bringing into this world, always worth living is that there is built into it an indestructible awareness that life belongs to eternity and not to time. [This] shines with an incredible brightness in the one place in the world where you would not, under any circumstances, expect to find it surviving. The Catacombs.” —Malcolm Muggeridge, Firing Line #433, with W.F. Buckley, Jr., Sept. 6, 1980, PBS
The church will outlive the world itself, and it will survive—no, thrive—in the eye of the great hurricane of cultural upheaval. The world tried to kill Jesus once, and look what happened. His followers can even be driven underground, but what are catacombs if not bomb-shelters, illuminated not by oil or electricity, but by the songs of the saints.
Here is another quote, an even better one…
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” —Jesus, Matthew 5:14-16
Shine, wherever you are.