Friday, November 11, 2016

Ponder: "Cynicism is always a practical failure."

“Christians will not quite be able to agree with President Obama’s statement that we are all Americans first. But Christians in our country are at least Americans second, and we should strive to be good ones as the president has urged, by presuming the good faith of our fellow citizens and seeking common ground whenever and wherever these may be had. Prescinding from the process, perhaps to keep our hands clean, is not helpful, and cynicism is always a practical failure, rooted in spiritual despair.

These are, in fact, Christian encouragements that we should know well and be expert in exemplifying, modern political democracy being, after all, a Christian bequest to the secular world in the wake of our own wars of religion and recrimination. The school of Christian unity-in-truth, indeed the gospel itself, includes politics properly practiced in the classical sense, and in the sense presumed by our commitment and call to good order, governance, and shared faith (see Eph. 4).

It would be hard to think of a better theme for the season of Advent, which inculcates preparation for the promised apocalypse of our Lord: the final revelation and unveiling of his return, judgment, and right ordering of all things. As Scripture and our tradition teach, these are always upon us, in this time between the times, and they form our faith and hope for both justice and mercy. Their practical payoff is due “fear” that leads to humility and awe in the face of our fleeting and fragile lives; repentance for our sins, not shifting blame to others (Luke 18:9-14); resolve to remain focused on the most important, ultimate concerns; and the commitment to living faithfully in the interim, that is, with courage, joy, and confidence in the promises of God.”

Christopher Wells, “Come, Lord Jesus; Get Back to Work.”  Covenant. 11 Nov. 2016

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