Every age must be baptized, this one as much as any before it.
The world made by men is passing away; successive scientific paradigms and technological achievements fall into times past along with the times that gave them birth. Ideas are tried and fought over, and even the best are eventually found wanting and impartial. Mansions, buildings and cities are erected and torn down or — in some places, slowly — worn down, and all the people that lived and moved and had their being in them are gone.
Yet the gospel is ever-new for Christ is not dead but alive. Despite appearances, resurrection and new creation are the end toward which all things are headed. Chaos, destruction and death are judged and in the time after the cross fight on with one hand bound, their ultimate defeat assured. The grave is now never the end.
And so there is no such thing as a "post-Christian" culture, only a new moment — right now — in which the mind of Christ, like leaven in bread, humbly seeks residence that it might by self-giving love transfigure and transform the present as it has the past and as it will the future.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Don't cling to what is passing away in the culture into which you were born but discern where the Incarnate God — the One who in Jesus joined our destinies forever with his — endeavors, time and time again, to renew and refresh the shackled creation; in which he desires to heal and set at liberty every person by suffering love.
The handmaiden said "let it be" and twenty centuries later man is only beginning to understand the glory that awaits us because of this Love that took on our race's blood and all our horrific sins by that holy teenager's consent. Think about THAT.
As Father Alexander Men, the Russian martyr put it, "Christianity has only taken its first, I would say timid, steps in human history. To this day many of Christ’s words are incomprehensible because we are still moral and spiritual neanderthal men. The gospel arrow is aimed towards eternity, and that which we call Christian history is in many ways a series of clumsy and unsuccessful attempts to bring Christianity about."
In all of our anxiety and fear about a dying Christendom, here or in Europe, let us not forget something: Christ is all, not "Christianity." Christ is all, not "the West."
Nothing is post-Christian because Christ is risen and the kingdom he announces is inexorable. The "let it be" of Mary and the "not my will but your will" of Jesus make mortals partakers of the divine nature by grace.
Go into all the world. Baptize. Teach. He is with us always, even to the end; indeed, beyond the end of each and every age.
The Rev. Kenneth Tanner is pastor of Church of the Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Mich. Follow him on Twitter: @kennethtanner.
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