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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

God's Presence when Empires Fail

We need to find the gaze of Christ. His look of love changes everything—but until we find it, a whole horizon of hope is hidden when we need it most. Everything else is passing, even the great empires of our times. It is difficult to write about this gaze in the midst of political collapse, but God does not stop acting even in the midst of so much uncertainty. In the face of a whole cacophony of conflicting cultural narratives, it is easy to be distracted in curiosity: with all this bad news, is there any good news? With everyone grasping for control even as the world spins out of control, let us remain focused on what God is doing.

The Bridegroom does not grasp or enter into competition for our attention. The Eternal Son does not need to caste dispersion on those who disagree with Him. He is not limited to act by only the most sensational display of power. Instead, the Savior of the Word is solemnly present in silent hidden majesty. He prefers to act as would an artist—with delicate, painful subtly. So does He bring the work that has begun in us to perfection. His sovereignty undaunted—the Lord reigns in peace even as heaven is at war and the earth unaware of its peril.

What of evil and the calamities that surround us? The Word who holds in being all things knows that nature has turned against those He loves because they have turned against nature. No anger but regret over the plight we have brought on ourselves. But more than the disorder of nature against humanity and humanity against nature, the Bridegroom grieves over His Bride—the wolves who attack her will not avoid HIs judgment. Those are destined for mill-stones who think that He has not made her holy and immaculate. Like lighting flash He comes to shatter the safe conventions that those without reverence presume to rely on. Woe to them who playing politics and power stand in His Way.

Even still, His love is patient and does not waver. He knows that the Heart of the Father aches over how we have squandered ourselves on what is far below our dignity and He knows how the Father waits for us to come to our senses and turn towards home. Even as we take our first step, the Trinity pulls up divine robes and runs as if forgetful of all sacred dignity—to us who still reek with pigsty. God runs not to shame or scold, but to welcome and embrace, to bring home.

Thus, the Word made flesh rebukes the fever of sin and every form of diabolical praise. Out of love for the Father, the Great High Priest even gently rebukes us for wanting Him to stay where we are in our present life circumstance instead of following Him where the Father sends Him—for He leads to our true home, to the things that are above, to the Holy of Holies. Not God of the familiar, convenient and comfortable, if we will follow Him into the Heart of the Father, even in times such as these, we will live in such astonished amazement—flooded forever by overflowing fullnesses of meaning and exceeding goodness. Here is the true source of peace - and the only hope for our people, our children. Our Father's love, a divine love no nation's nihilism can ever overcome, is unleashed here and now in the gaze of Christ—what freedom and greatness awaits those who dare to glance into those eyes.

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