But Seek the One That is To Come!
Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the
one that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). This is a
particularly challenging thought in this age of
cynicism, where doubt in all things save science
and technology currently reigns. But the deep
truth is that this world, this beautiful, God-given
world is not our real home.
While the world is not our real home, it is our
earthly home and we are to honor it, respect it,
and treat it accordingly. It is God’s gift to us.
Creation reveals the mind of God to us. Nature is
true to his design. Though we too are in nature,
we are unlike any other creature in nature, in that
we are the only ones to whom God gave free will.
God breathed his own image and likeness into us
in that freedom, but because of the Fall of Adam
and Eve, we have been known to distort that
freedom and even to use it in defiance of the One
who made us. This has affected us profoundly.
“One of the saddest and most significant things
about modern life is that it lacks instinct…Under
the fatal burden of our civilization, the
overwhelming weight of our titanic dreams, the
futile waste of our so-called ‘self-realization’ and
other vague ideas, we have lost our natural
instinct. And the mechanization and
reorganization of our religious life has taken away
our supernatural instinct as well…The certainty
that enabled us to distinguish between good and
evil by our own inner standard, to decide between
useful and harmful, between wisdom and folly,
has vanished. This explains the immature
behavior of so many Christians today.” These
words are from Father Alfred Delf, S.J., a German
Jesuit priest, who was condemned to death by
the Nazis in 1945. His words may have even
more truth behind them today, some 72 years
later, in our own times, where God and his word
are increasingly shunted aside, where science and
technology claim the high ground, and where
mere materialism and the siren call of immediate
gratification rules the day.
Christians today must hear this Holy Spirit
inspired word of God as vibrantly and as seriously
as those Hebrew converts to Christianity did in
the years following Jesus’ death, resurrection, and
ascension back to the Father. Our times are
apostolic times just as their times were. We must
believe and practice the word of God as intimately
and as sincerely today as the Hebrews did in
those days. Maybe even more so. In this
profoundly anti-religious period of history, we
have an even greater responsibility to be Christ-
like, publicly, openly, sincerely, and lovingly. Like
Jesus, we are called upon, if necessary, to be
sacrificed “outside the social walls” of this
impermanent “city.” Our sacrifice, like that Paul
calls the Hebrews to, is to be a sacrifice of
praise, done openly in this “city” so that we may
be worthy of entering that eternal city for which
we were made by the Creator himself.
Lord, Increase our faith in your word and give us
the courage to live it openly in our daily lives. We
honor our lives and your creation by living our
lives here in this world as true citizens of the
next. Help us to be ever more capable of
distinguishing between good and evil, between
what is useful and what is harmful, and between
what is wisdom and folly in this “city” so that we
may enter your city with shouts of joy and praise.
We pray this in our name, Jesus. Amen!