It’s the evening of Easter Saturday. I don’t use my computer on Sundays, so this is my opportunity to wish you all a happy Easter. With or without chocolate eggs, bunnies, or whatever!
All over the world, Christian bloggers are wracking their brains on what to say about today. I have nothing original to say.
Yesterday Christ died for us, denounced by a false friend, arrested and condemned on a charge which all concerned knew to be false, and executed in a manner unnecessarily cruel. He warned those who follow him that, if he was hated, we should expect to be. There’s been plenty of that in the news this week. It is possible to become very depressed by the savagery and unconcealed bile directed towards harmless people. I remember days when much of what is going on would have been unthinkable.
But God is in charge. Times of peace may be nice, but this world is not our home. In times of peace and plenty, morality decays. It is remarkably hard to be pleasure-seeking, when fighting for your very existence! This is why God allows wars and suffering; to prevent human society putrefying out of sheer self-indulgence. After 50 years of peace, we can hardly complain if it is our turn.
It looks very much as if, over the next few years, God will now winnow the church with fire, separating the sheep from the goats. There will be the fake Christians, who conform, and are rather contemptuously flattered by the world for dancing to its tune. There will be the real Christians, who will not deny the gospel, and will be at risk of being imprisoned and having their property seized. We must all pray to be among the number of the latter.
At the moment the issue chosen by the wicked men of the world is whether we endorse unnatural vice. We shall be tempted to pay lip service to this absurd demand, for a quiet life. We must refuse. We should remember that the early Christians were persecuted for three centuries for refusing to burn a pinch of incense to Caesar – seemingly a small thing, which nobody else took seriously. But that small thing was chosen, by the powers of this world, precisely because Christians could not do it in good conscience. That is how persecution works; find an issue on which your enemy cannot give way, and use it to torment him. We must never suppose that some “small issue” is not important. It may be another “pinch of incense”. Trotsky mocked Stalin for his show trials, for collecting “dead souls”. That is the risk in conformity.
Tomorrow we shall be reminded that the powers of hell could not prevail. Christ is risen, and those who thought themselves important, and wrote him off found themselves forgotten, except as footnotes to his life and victory. So will it be with the great ones of our age.
In the mean time, we must remember to pray (and to check whether God answered, and to give him thanks when we find he does; and when we find that he did not). We must find ways to evade the demands of the wicked, for we are under no obligation to make their evil task easier. We must share the good news – that all this rubbish in ourselves and in the world is only temporary, that he can forgive our failings, and that if we give our lives to Christ, we can hope to see an end to it all and better days.
Happy Easter to you all. Christ is Risen!