I was nurtured on stories as a child that contrasted Christ’s “non-judging” (“Jesus, meek and mild”) with Christ the coming Judge (at His dread Second Coming). I was told that His second coming would be very unlike His first. There was a sense that Jesus, meek and mild, was something of a pretender, revealing His true and eternal character only later as the avenging Judge.
This, of course, is both distortion and heresy. The judgment of God is revealed in Holy Week. The crucified Christ is the fullness of the revelation of God. There is no further revelation to be made known, no unveiling of a wrath to come. The crucified Christ is what the wrath of God looks like.
(Fr. Stephen Freeman, italics added) Neither the quote (though a lot like my own spiritual history) nor my headline captures the depth of Fr. Stephen’s meditation, which I commend.
[T]he prime motivator of a half-century of sacrifice in a Cold War that cost us trillions and 90,000 dead in Korea and Vietnam—the belief we were leading the forces of light in a struggle against the forces of darkness that ruled the Sino-Soviet Empire—is gone. The great ideological struggle of the 20th century between totalitarianism and freedom, communism and capitalism, militant atheism and Christianity is over. The Communist empire collapsed. Only the remnants remain in backwaters like Cuba. Marxism-Leninism as an ideology guiding great powers is a dead faith. The Communist party may rule China, but state capitalism has produced Chinese billionaires who do not wave around Little Red Books. Lenin’s remains may lie in Red Square, and Mao’s in Tiananmen Square, but these are tourist sites, not shrines to secular saviors who remain objects of worship.
[W]hen the faith or ideology of a civilization or nation dies, something must replace it. And around the world what peoples and regimes seem to be turning to is nationalism.
Vladimir Putin has taken back Crimea and declared himself the protector of Russians in the former republics of the Soviet Union. China’s claims against Japan in the East China Sea are rooted in 19th-century maps and 21st-century nationalism, propelled by a hatred born of Japan’s brutality in the conquest of China from 1931 to 1945. Japan’s response is not to reassert the divinity of the emperor. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is invoking nationalism, seeking to break out from under the pacifist constitution imposed after World War II.
America, too, seems to be searching for a substitute for anticommunism, to justify global commitments that seem to have less and less to do with vital national interests ….
How sinful is enmity against Jews, based on an ignorance of God’s law, and how shall it be forgiven when it arises from abominable and disgraceful impulses. The robbers of the Jews did not do so as revenge for opposition to Christianity, rather they lusted for the property and possessions of others. Under the thin guise of zeal for the faith, they served the demon of covetousness. They resembled Judas who betrayed Christ with a kiss while blinded with the sickness of greed, but these murderers, hiding themselves behind Christ’s name, killed His kinsmen according to the flesh in order to rob them.
(Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky of Kiev and Galicia, early 20th Century, after a pogrom. Via Abbot Tryphon)
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)