I’m sitting in the Jacksonville airport with a couple of hours of free-time, and a kind airport that actually has free wi-fi. Some airports, such as Detroit (as I learned last week) charge you to use wi-fi. Ouch!
I’ve been thinking some as drove around northern Florida today (definitely not Detroit or Tennessee) on the general topic of “what is wrong with us?” I was using as my starting point the death and resurrection of Christ. For it is Christ who is the answer and thus also Christ who reveals to us the nature of the problem. Whatever is wrong with us, Christ is what it looks like to be right.
I have written on the loneliness of modern man, and think of that as one of the modern manifestations of our disease. We can always think of the universal themes of corruption and death.
But today I was thinking more about modern man. Even though we are fallen and do not get things right, our instincts are still rooted in the logos of our nature. Even our wrong choices often reflect right choices if only we knew. I suspect that as globalization continues (this is a real hot topic in Europe, btw) we will react by becoming more tribal and nationalistic. People are not created to belong to everything and nothing, but to Someone in a very specific way.
Thus young people, in the little global communities of our high schools (they are really fascinating places to visit) strive mightily to create a place to belong. Sometimes they literally have to nail themselves to an identity, driving spikes through their bodies to create an identity.
Last year I was invited to speak in my youngest daughters’ Civics class. They were having “mock court” and the subject was separation of church and state. I argued in favor of a free for all. Let everyone speak, including the pagans and satanists. I do not fear the comparison of Christianity to anything. So the debate went on.
After class (I was wearing my cassock as usual) a ninth grade girl shyly approached me and said, “I think you’re cool.” That’s just about the highest compliment I’ve had in the last few years. But the hunger is so deep among our nation’s young.
But what is wrong with us? The same thing that has always been wrong with us. We have separated ourselves from the only source of life – and particularly life in its fullness. All we see today are modern manifestations (and post modern manifestations) of the one human illness.
What we must do above all, is not condemn the world – Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world – but we must be sure to be light to the world. I know, and must know in my heart, that everyone I meet is hungry for what Christ has done. They may not know it yet. They may yet be preferring the darkness to the Light. But the universe (as created through Christ) is on my side.
The enemy may do all he can to confuse and confound, but I stand on the side of victory in Christ. We should have this assurance in ourselves – not as a sense of superiority – but in a sense of service. I am a servant of everyone I meet, and I have what it is he truly needs.
It is our daily journey to enter more fully into the truth that is given to us in Christ that we may more truly be servants of the answer that the world hungers for.
Airports are interesting places. They are the crossroads of the world.
Last summer, waiting in Gatway airport in London, I was wearing my cassock (again as usual) when a woman approached me at our gate. “Father Stephen!” she greeted me and asked my blessing. Turns out she was a Bulgarian parishioner of the Church where my parents attended in South Carolina. She recognized me.
But my son, James, was overwhelmed. “Everybody knows you! We’re not even in America!” The truth was much smaller than he thought, the odds much closer that I should meet someone at the gate for a plane bound to Atlanta. But the impression remained. The world is hungry for this truth. May God give us grace to state and preach this truth in terms that the world can hear. May they all be drawn to the union of His cross.
Glory to God for all things!