We were doing morning prayer today, and as on most mornings, I have to think about what day of the month it is. I know it is Saturday: I can sleep a little longer and spend more time in the word. But the date — we check our watches or cellphones. When I was a child the reminder of the date was the newspaper, bought from the street most mornings.
The text this morning (on the Revised Common Lectionary) is a correction for those who would make us fear. God will provide for us, and this provision is a witness. So the nations may see, and repent.
25 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and will manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26 They will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards and live securely when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”’”Ezekiel 28:25-26, NASB
29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.Luke 12:29-32, NASB
I have lived all my adult life in a pagan nation: some people have a fervant faith and a plurality acknowledge Christ, but the elite have hated Christ and all his works. There are those who counsel defeat, and see the end of Christendom. I do not. I see a time for revival. And I know this: it is God who brings the revival, not us. It is our job to be a witness primarily, and secondarily to preserve what is good, noble and true from the barbarians in power.
It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our age in Europe and North America and the epoch in which the Roman Empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead – often not recognising fully what they were doing – was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached a turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages that are already upon us. And if the tradition of the virtues was able to survive the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope. This time however the barbarians are not waiting behind the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for Godot, but for another – doubtless very different – St. Benedict.Alaistair MacIntyre, cited by Gary Scarrabelloti, Spectator Oz.
I also know this: the barbarians want our fear. We should not give them it. It is not them that we pray for our daily bread, but God. And he will preserve his church, though the demons of this age rage. So the nations will see, and repent.
May his Spirit bring revival. For to be like this elite is to damn ourselves and see our peoples destroyed. Let us never be like them.