What do you do when everything becomes dark? Put on the Light.
By The Hermits, Nov 19 2019 01:59PM
What do you do when everything becomes dark?
Put on a light.
I read the Narnia series when I was about thirteen or fourteen. That was 50 years ago!
At that time I found the Christian allegory interesting, the description of heaven fascinating and beautiful, and all the fighting boring! But the thing that has always stayed with me was in the last book: the description of the men sitting in what had been a dark smelly stable, not able to see that everything had changed around them and the were now at the gate of paradise, which they were free to enter if only they truly opened their eyes.
How can you help people see the Light? A dear friend of mine has recently asked me that very question. How can you persuade people to stop concentrating on the foreboding dark evils infiltrating both the world and the Church, and look upon the Crucified Christ instead, who has redeemed us if only we will accept it? How can you make people understand that they have to prepare themselves for death so that they can enter paradise? Few want to think about it, even when they are fast approaching old age. And how can you make people who are publicly sinning realize that they are not heading towards utopia but hell unless they repent and turn back to Christ?
But the biggest problem of all is what do you say to people who think they are in the right and everybody else is either mistaken or against them?
What you are often told by even holy Christians is: “just pray about it/them”, but is that what Jesus said in the Gospels? Certainly Christ said that we had to pray, and the Psalms are full of petitions, but that is not all we are instructed to do. We have to take the message of the Good News to the ends of the earth. That means taking it to Vatican Hill just as much as to “Deepest Peru”, where I seem to remember Paddington Bear said he came from! It also means taking it onto the streets and into the workplace, even if it does mean that we antagonise the neo-pagans. Christ told us to see the signs of the coming of the Judgement. When we look around us at the natural world and the depths of the sexual immorality taking over even the laws of our Countries, could we be seeing the start of those signs that Christ mentioned?
If we are in the lead up to the time of chastisement, or even to the time of the Antichrist, shouldn’t we be preparing lest we be found wanting. And can our behaviour be considered Christian if we do not try to help others find Salvation, even at this late hour. I do not expect to see Christ appearing in the clouds of heaven in the next few months, as the happenings of the Book of the Apocalypse have not yet all occurred. But I don’t know when I will die, and when I do that will be my Judgement Day, so as indicated by St. Paul, we must live as if every day is our last, so that we may ‘win the race’.
But to return to the question posed by my friend. How do you help others see the light? Yes, there is truth in the saying that your very life should be an example to others. I know of one woman who was converted to Christianity by the example of a nurse who cared for her in hospital, and the fact that she wore a cross round her neck (which wouldn’t unfortunately be allowed now). However it was actually twelve or more years after that encounter that the conversion occurred – talk about a delayed effect! But effective silent witness of this type is uncommon, and now nurses and doctors are disciplined if they even mention God, let alone wear a Cross.
In my view it is time to resist the Neo-pagan culture by copying the resistance of the early Christians to the Pagan practices of Rome. They refused to honour the false gods by bowing the knee or offering incense to them or the Emperor. Now the false gods are the imaginings of the LGBT, and of ‘healing the planet’ by killing unborn children or artificially preventing their conception. How many people in Britain today would refuse to watch a Gay Pride event, or refuse to buy their child a rainbow bracelet or a rainbow poppy. How may people who are teachers, or firemen, or ambulance men, or local councillors would refuse to walk in a Pride procession. If they did they would be risking losing their job. How many shops along the route of the processions would refuse to decorate their windows with rainbows etc – they would be risking being boycotted, or, like the Chickafil shop, be persecuted out of business! But it is not just the false god of LGBT ideology that is getting out of hand. How many of us are willing to not laugh at a joke against God? To say that they didn’t go to the ‘Life of Brian’ film because it was blasphemous? To say a private grace before eating then make the Sign of the Cross? To thank God out loud for something good happening such as the birth of a baby or even lovely weather? How many of us are willing to show that we are a Christian? But if we don’t show we are Christians, how can we lead anyone to Him? Nabil Qureshi in his Book ‘Seeking Allah finding Jesus’ said that just after his conversion, when driving to university, he saw a man walking along the street and suddenly realized that no-one was likely to speak to that man, or millions of others, about Jesus Christ; and that meant that no-one was going to stop them going to hell.
There is also a place for more active Christianity, (whatever the Pope says!), to ‘publicizing’ God, making Him seen, putting out His message this sad world of today. This can be done by using all the media outlets and by written materials. Many thousands of Muslims have been converted by the internet and by the ‘Jesus film’. By people risking their very lives to bring the hope of a loving and personal God and Father, instead of the impersonal Allah. Just read ‘A Wind in the House of Islam’ by David Garrison to see what can be achieved by individuals and small groups. Or read about Brother Andrew who risked taking Bibles through the ‘iron curtain’ and whose organisation Open Doors is still bringing God’s Word in clandestine Bibles to people in closed countries.
So how can we simply be a visible Christian to people? By looking like a Christian, and I don’t mean looking like a nerd! Firstly, dress modestly; looking like a tart doesn’t actually help you proclaim God’s moral law. Dressing modestly doesn’t have to mean not dressing beautifully. If possible wear something that silently proclaims that you belong to God, and if you are wearing a Cross or Crucifix around your neck don’t hide it under your clothes. Even Putin lets his Cross be seen. If you happen to be reading something religious such as the Catholic Herald, the Evangelical Times, or the Bible etc don’t immediately hide it if someone sits next to you on the bus or train – as if you were ashamed of it - as if it were a porn mag. And if someone serves you a coffee or even gives you an unwanted flyer – say thank you, bless you. And don’t use blasphemous swearing! And of course, if someone brings religion into the conversation do not be afraid to discuss the truths of Faith. You may not have any effect on anyone, but that nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital Folkestone never knew that her manner and her Cross brought someone to Christ. Maybe you, when you (hopefully) enter heaven will have someone come up to you and thank you for bringing them to Christ and heaven. Think how wonderful that would be.
Bringing the Light to people may not bring you peace or happiness in this world. It is more likely to bring you into troubled waters, possible persecution, even prison (but death is unlikely just at the moment, but that may come later). Christ said that the Kingdom of Heaven is won by violence. The common understanding of this saying is that we have to do violence to ourselves in order to enter heaven, and that is undeniably correct. But is that the only meaning? Jesus Christ Himself won the fight to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth – in the hearts and souls of His followers. But He didn’t win by using violence, but by violence being done to Him, by being Crucified on the Cross. The Apostles didn’t spread the Kingdom of God by using violence, but by unswerving courage and by their martyrdoms. So too the Kingdom of God was not spread throughout the Roman Empire by violent Christians, but by the blood of thousands of martyrs, and the suffering of millions of others.
To be a true disciple of Christ today, to be a bearer of the Light of Truth to people, we must do violence to ourselves. We all want to be popular, we all want to be liked, and we don’t want to stand out as being ‘different’ from our peers. But we have to obey the ‘Great Commission’, to borrow that term from the Evangelicals. We have to take the Good News to the ends of the earth, to the neo-pagans who now surround us on all sides. And that means we have to face ‘violence’ being used against us. Hopefully not physical violence. But the more unpleasant violence of being displeasing to society. Of being displeasing to the Roman Catholic Church structures or people in our own parishes. We must be the child that cries out that the Godless norms of modern society ‘has no clothes’. We must stand up for the Truth in season and out of season. And we must love and show God’s love to others, even though it hurts, and hurts, and hurts.
And lastly, we must rejoice. Rejoice in God’s goodness, His love, His gift of salvation, His gift to us of all the beautiful things of earth. This world may be increasingly dark and sinful. But even in this deadly fight between Good and Evil there is still beauty and goodness. So make time to praise and thank God. And may the blessings of God be with you always.