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Here At the End of the World
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness…” 2 Peter 3:11
Here we are at the end of the world. We sit upon the ramparts, like St. Augustine of old, as hordes dismantle the last vestiges of civilization. We left the gates unlocked, and the city was overtaken while we slept with our eyes wide open. We were looking for spears and swords, so we failed to see the signs. It never occurred to us that the barbarians would unstack the stones upon which our whole order was built simply by convincing people that they were a prison.
The barbarians styled themselves “liberators,” champions of freedom, and we believed them. Freedom, they convinced us, is only real freedom when our essential identity is chosen by ourselves. Concepts like “Nature and Nature’s God” are fetters, the antithesis of personal liberty; a yoke to be broken asunder, chains to be cast aside.
Freedom, they convinced us, lies in our refusal of our own human nature, our position as creatures of God. We believed the lie and thought ourselves demiurges without a heritage. Autonomous Beings, self-made things to whom nothing was given, and from whom nothing is required.
In our refusal to receive our inheritance as sons and daughters of a gracious God, a “given” status, a gifted nature; we have become barbarians ourselves. Now even our Jerusalems have become Babylons. But we do not even have the good sense to hang our harps in the willow trees and weep. We carry on, whistling Dixie, because we cannot even remember Zion.
But the truth is that we are heirs. And receiving is not contrary to our dignity. We have received a history, a religion, a language, a culture, a family, a name.
These gifts should have been received with gratitude. But because we were not thankful, we worship and serve the creature, and our foolish hearts have become darkened. This is why human nature, both in terms of sexual identity and sexual expression, is unbearable to us. Since nature is a gift and not a chosen thing, it is seen as a denial of our right to be absolutely free.
The barbarians came and pointed us to a tree. “Eat,” they said, “and you shall be as gods.” We did eat, and we became as gods, tin-pot idols in our own minds.
So, here we are at the end of the world, captive to the luciferian lie. Held in thrall to the notion that the order of nature is a prison rather than the first blessing of Eden.
But the end is not yet, even here at the end of the world. There is another Tree, the ultimate symbol of “givenness.” A tree upon which hangs a Man who received that which was not due him so that we could receive that which we do not deserve. To eat from this tree is to accept everything as a gift. This includes our original station as creatures made in the image of God. To eat of this tree is to live, and to live in harmony, body and soul, with the God who is the Author of Liberty.
So, as St. Augustine said, “Choose not then to cleave to this aged world, and to be unwilling to grow young in Christ, who tells you, ‘The world is perishing, the world is waxing old, the world is failing, distressed by the heavy breathing of old age. But do not fear, ‘your youth shall be renewed as the eagle’s.’” There is yet a new world coming.
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