GLEANINGS (from the Daily Office) – Hanging to the Promise in the Face of Terror – Year One, 3 Advent, Tuesday, Luke 22:54-69
“And he went out and wept bitterly.” Peter had been warned. That made it all the more difficult to accept that he did indeed deny Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times. The time between drawing a sword to protect him and abandoning Jesus in his hour of need is a nanosecond or 20 verses. Weeping perfectly appropriate!
But this day we weep, not for our denial or his but for those who would not deny. Last night we went to sleep with news of terror in Sydney. This morning we wake to find more than a 100 children were slain by like minded jihadists. Evil knows no bounds. And why? Because the children will not conform to another faith. They refuse to deny Jesus.
It made me want to hold my children. Then I began to wonder what my children would do if confronted by the same evil. I think they would refuse too. Not because I have prepared them with the backbone necessary to defy. I think they would refuse because, rightly, they cannot imagine life apart from the source of it. They lay their heads upon their pillows each night knowing they are in the hands of a God who “is bigger than the boogie man,” real or perceived.
And others would snuff this innocence out. We weep. As we weep, we hang to the promise we find in today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah. “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” Perhaps we are in a lull. Perhaps it is perspective that prevents me from seeing. But I am hanging to, truly standing on, the promise. It grounds me as the earth shakes.
–Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”–
61 years after the Church became a part of the Empire:
“And what is our condition? Love is grown cold; the teaching of the fathers is being laid waste; everywhere is shipwreck of the Faith. The mouths of the faithful are silent; the people driven from the houses of prayer, lift up their hands in the open air to their Lord which is in heaven. Our afflictions are heavy, martyrdom is nowhere to be seen, because those who evilly entreat us are called by the same name as ourselves.”
Basil to Ascholius, 374 AD
The barbarians and the faithful are called the same thing, Christian.