Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Devotion for today: heaven and earth shall pass away

Scripture for today: Matthew 24:35
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

G.K. Chesterton: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’ The civilization of antiquity was the whole world: and men no more dreamed of its ending than of the ending of daylight. They could not imagine another order unless it were in another world. The civilization of that world passed away and those words have not passed away. In the long night of the Dark Ages feudalism was so familiar a thing that no man could imagine himself without a lord: and religion was so woven into that network that no man would have believed they could be torn asunder. Feudalism itself was torn to rags and rotted away in the popular life of the true Middle Ages; and the first and freshest power in that new freedom was the old religion. The whole medieval order, in many ways so complete and almost cosmic a home for man, wore out gradually in its turn; and here at least it was thought that the words would die. They went forth across the radiant abyss of the Renaissance and in fifty years were using all its light and learning for new religious foundations, new apologetics, new saints. It was supposed to have been withered up at last in the dry light of the Age of Reason; it was supposed to have disappeared ultimately in the earthquake of the Age of Revolution. Science explained it away; and it was still there. History disinterred it in the past; and it appeared suddenly in the future. Today it stands once more in our path, and even as we watch it, it grows.” (The Everlasting Man, Ignatius Press, 1925)

Prayer: Isaiah 64
Prayer for Mercy and Help
Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,
That the mountains might quake at Your presence—

As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!

When You did awesome things which we did not expect,
You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
Behold, You were angry, for we sinned,
We continued in them a long time;
And shall we be saved?

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

But now, O LORD, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD,
Nor remember iniquity forever;
Behold, look now, all of us are Your people.

Your holy cities have become a wilderness,
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.

Our holy and beautiful house,
Where our fathers praised You,
Has been burned by fire;
And all our precious things have become a ruin.

My thoughts: G.K. Chesterton reminds us of a very important fact, a fact that cannot be denied even by those who try today to destroy the Church by calling it irrelevant: mountains may fall, hills will turn to dust, and civilizations once thought great will crumble and disappear. The Church which Jesus founded upon His word, however, will never pass away. Never. Isaiah has us pray to be spared from the destructive force which falls upon man when he turns from God. This is not the action of a mean God; this is our loving Father who asks us to follow His plan for the world He created. Destruction comes when we go against that order, just as it occurs when the laws of nature are ignored and violated. The cities that became wildernesses, places of desolation, are symbolic of the hearts and souls of men who turn their backs on God. He waits for us because He dreamed of us from all eternity. He wants us back with him. Whether or not the present “age of whatever” will last for much longer is a given: Chesterton reminds us it will fade away and be replaced by another one even more advanced and bent on stopping the word of God from flourishing. Well, let it. Based on history, it doesn’t stand a snowball's chance…. And just be sure you are on the right side when the mountains fall!

No comments: