Saturday, July 02, 2005

Lest I Forget

In reading today's headlines I can become a little overwhelmed. That is when I read them in the context of only what these fleshly fishbowls in my head are seeing. It all fades into the colors and banners of hope when I look through the lenses of heaven. I can no longer slide into woeful cynicism (one of my favorite haunts in seasons of forgetfulness), nor into a stupified consolment of compromise, when I but glance upon the transcendant glory of the living Christ.
Consider the writing of John Milton in Paradise Lost where he recounts his vision of the expulsion of the great enemy from the glory of heaven. This is from book VI, lines 806-826 where Christ responds to the Father and the host of glory of His intent upon the hordes of Satan.
Gustav Dore, detail of plate 1
.......But of this cursed crew
The punishment to other hand belongs;
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints:
Number to this day's work is not ordained,
Nor multitude; stand only, and behold
God's indignation on these godless poured
By me; not you, but me, they have despised,
Yet envied; against me is all their rage,
Because the Father, to whom in Heaven s'preme
Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains,
Hath honoured me, according to his will.
Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned;
That they may have their wish, to try with me
In battle which the stronger proves; they all,
Or I alone against them; since by strength
They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels;
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.
So spake the Son, and into terrour changed
His countenance too severe to be beheld,
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.

And through the flight of His foes this countenance is unchanged till at last they fall bewildered to the pit. (lines 853-877)

Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven:
The overthrown he raised, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued
With terrours, and with furies, to the bounds
And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide,
Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed
Into the wasteful deep: The monstrous sight
Struck them with horrour backward, but far worse
Urged them behind: Headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell saw
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled
Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Nine days they fell: Confounded Chaos roared,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout
Incumbered him with ruin: Hell at last
Yawning received them whole, and on them closed;
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.

This is the Christ, the Messiah of Israel and the grafted Gentile Church. This is the Christ who sends my foes to flight. This is the Christ against whom the nations rage in vain and plot to their great loss. This is the Christ who will avenge His charished bride for all her sufferings. This is the Christ who beckons all to be at His side as the enemy of all is finally driven powerless to the hell formed for him and his own. This is the Christ who causes my soul to weep for those who will not join at his side, but rally to the side of the one who is forever lost. This is the triumphant Christ, who from birth to death to life forevermore was triumphant and transcendant. This is the Christ scripture reveals, His passion and fury poised against all the unrighteousness unleashed by and against humankind. He is on our side!!! He is the rescuer of our souls from their dark devisings. He is the One who hates the foes of all humanity. He is the One who loves. His jealous anger aroused against any who lift their hands against the cherished ones. Oh that I would remember the great warrior of Love. I cheer the cinema star as he plays a weak reflection of this Great King and go home forgetting the Son who is the light.
Today I remember. Today I will look out through the eyes of heaven. Today I am a son of the King and brother to the Christ of the world here and to come!

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