But Seek the One That is To Come!

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“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!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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