“Whatever may happen, however seemingly inimical to it may be the world’s going and those who preside over the world’s affairs, the truth of the Incarnation remains intact and inviolate. Christendom, like other civilizations before it, is subject to decay and must sometime decompose and disappear. The world’s way of responding to intimations of decay is to engage equally in idiot hopes and idiot despair. On the one hand some new policy or discovery is confidently expected to put everything to rights: a new fuel, a new drug, détente, global government. On the other, some disaster is as confidently expected to prove our undoing: Capitalism will break down. Fuel will run out. Pandemics will lay us low. Climate change waste will kill us off. Overpopulation will suffocate us, or alternatively, a declining birth rate will put us more surely at the mercy of our enemies.
“In Christian terms, such hopes and fears are equally beside the point. As Christians we know that here we have no continuing city—that crowns roll in the dust and every earthly kingdom must sometime flounder, whereas we acknowledge a King that men did not crown and cannot dethrone, as we are citizens of a city of God they did not build and cannot destroy. Thus, the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, living in a society as depraved and dissolute as ours. Their games, like our television, specialized in spectacles of violence and eroticism. Paul exhorted them to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in God’s work,” to concern themselves with the things that are unseen. “For the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal.” It was in the breakdown of Rome that Christendom was born. Now in the breakdown of Christendom there are the same requirements and the same possibilities to eschew the fantasy of a disintegrating world and seek the reality of what is not seen and eternal—the reality of Christ.” —Malcolm Muggeridge (with a few minor updates)
2021 will be glorious.
Has the stuff of earth obscured the face of God? Let’s pray…
O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things.
The world has been too much with me.
Thou hast been here and I knew it not.
I have been blind to Thy Presence.
Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me.
For Christ’s sake, Amen.
And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.” —God, Revelation 21:5
Imagine that. This is what He does. Here’s your chance.
“Here from this stable, here, from this Nazareth, this stony beach, this Jerusalem, this market place, this garden, this Praetorium, this Cross, this mountain, I announce it to you. I announce to you what is guessed at in all the phenomena of your world. You see the corn of wheat shrivel and break open and die, but you expect a crop. I tell you of the Springtime of which all springtimes speak. I tell you of the world for which this world groans and toward which it strains. I tell you that beyond the awful borders imposed by time and space and contingency, there lies what you seek. I announce to you life instead of mere existence, freedom instead of frustration, justice instead of compensation. For I announce to you redemption. Behold I make all things new. Behold I do what cannot be done. I restore the years that the locusts and worms have eaten. I restore the years [that] you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheelchair. I restore the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massif your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you through plunder and the identity lost to you because of calumny [slander] and the failure of justice; and I restore the good which your own foolish mistakes have cheated you of. And I bring you to the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow.”—Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger
Happy New Year.
“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.
“Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Templeton Address, London, 10 May 1983.
And now it’s us—for the same reason. The American experiment was founded on a triangular model of liberty: Liberty requires Virtue; Virtue requires Faith; and Faith requires Liberty. Remove any of the supporting lines and the triangle collapses. Men have forgotten God—that’s why all this has happened.
Now you know what to pray for today.
“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.
I’ve performed hundreds of weddings and done way too much marriage counseling. Though I’ll stay the course, I admit I’ve toyed with the idea of not doing it anymore. Why? I’m weary of perjury. Read on—C.S. Lewis’ observations just may save your love.
“Justice…includes keeping promises. Now—everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death… To this someone may reply that he regarded the promise made in church as a mere formality and never intended to keep it. Whom, then, was he trying to deceive when he made it? God? That was really very unwise. Himself? That was not very much wiser. The bride or bridegroom or the “in-laws”? That was treacherous. Most often, I think, the couple (or one of them) hoped to deceive the public. They wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price—that is, they were imposters, they cheated. If they are still contented cheats, I have nothing to say to them—who would urge the high and hard duty of chastity on people who have not yet wished to be merely honest? If they have now come to their senses and want to be honest—their promise—already made—constrains them. And this, you will see, comes under the heading of justice—not that of chastity. If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep. It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another—unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.”
Marriage’s forgotten glue is the truth of the promises heartily declared in front of witnesses and God. We still musn’t take the Name of the Lord in vain—which has everything to do with vows and little to do with profanity. Tragically, the value of a couple’s wedding vows have so diminished that their promises need only hold until one decide’s they shouldn’t anymore. Even the witnesses to the “I do’s” merely see themselves as guests and no longer as a threat of mass accountability. When people operate by any lesser truth than that of God’s immutable Word, integrity has no constraints and accountability holds no terror. The proof is in the perjury.
Actor Peter Graves, when asked how his 50-year marriage lasted so long, forcefully replied, “We promised!”
Yes, we did.
“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.
(I rarely editorialize, so be forewarned. Another, more encouraging post is on its way soon…)
“What is truth?”, Pontius Pilate once quipped at the words of Jesus, just before he sentenced Him to death. If you ask the same question to UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the reply would be something like, “The truth is whatever we decide, excuse the facts.”
Though somewhat softened in its wording, UNESCO’s World Heritage 21-member committee voted today to ratify a document declaring that the factual, historical, cultural, scientifically verified center and capital of ancient Israel, Judaism and Christianity never existed as such—never mind the vast and irrefutable scientific, historical, literary and cultural evidence to the contrary. In fact, if the wording of the declaration hadn’t been altered due to Israel’s last-minute diplomatic maneuvers, even the Western Wall—the holiest site in all Judaism—would have been declared a Moslem site that had been occupied by Israeli “aggressors”. Even so, the walled city of Jerusalem and the historical Temple Mount was claimed by UNESCO for Palestine and Jordan through the manipulation of a committee of nations who are no more concerned about Education, Science and Culture than a cat. “What is truth?” was the question posed right before the brutal execution of a rather significant Jew in Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago. Irony of ironies. Israeli diplomat Carmel Shama-Hachone, in his own assessment of the matter, said the whole thing belongs “in the garbage bin of history.”
On a personal note, I must express my gratitude to you, UNESCO, and your parent organization, the United Nations, for openly clarifying the quality and integrity of your Educational, Scientific and Cultural understanding of truth and facts. Now—what was it you saying about global warming…?