The Earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.
So penned Camille Paglia, an American academic and social critic reflecting on society and history.
During the last thirty years, the following states have vanished as political entities; the DDR, the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Among the books that I am presently reading, it includes this one:
Image from www.bol.com
The author Norman Davies traces what happened to numerous countries that existed within Europe in the past but are no more. Do you remember Aragon existed for instance? (that was Aragon, not Aragorn from a certain fantasy tale!)
In what is aptly named for this month, the song ‘October’ by U2 from way back in 1981, includes the the following words:
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
Looking in the news over the past week, we cannot have failed to see the on-going destructive slaughter in Aleppo or the hammer blow of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti (let’s keep praying and if we can, help in some way). Nations shaken!
In Psalm 46, we can read these words,
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall (v6)
It was true then, it is true now. In contrast in the New Testament, we can read of Jesus and his kingdom,
But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8)
So am I saying just think about Jesus and forget the world we live in? No, definitely not!
It is true that Christians are called to look to a future time when Christ will return and human history as we know it will be brought to a close. Yet this does not mean we are to not care for this world that we live in. Far from it, the Bible is full of calls about justice, care for the poor, standing up for the oppressed and for what is right. Even this verse above about Jesus , declares about a ‘scepter of justice’. Part of the Gospel is to express the good news of His kingdom now not just for one day in the future!
Towards the end of Psalm 46, there are these words calling us to focus on the Lord:
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth. (v 10)
This is a call to be still from the rush, the noise, the challenges of life and to look to the Lord. Do you and I believe that He can be exalted in our circumstances? Do you believe that He is even interested at all?
Do we know that He is God and ultimately He is in control?
“Yeah, but I don’t see that when I look at the news!” I struggle with that too at times, when it comes to praying and knowing how to respond to situations such as Syria. How are are we seeing God exalted in the earth? Not just a promise for the future but evident now?
If you ponder on such questions, remember that Christ himself suffered on the cross. He got fully immersed in this world and along the way He was rejected, despised and broken on the cross, that we might be made whole and reconciled to God and each other.
Christ is alive – come through death to the other side. He is sure hope for the future but also hope for our world now. How? I leave that for you to think on, including the part He might have you play.