It is not the worst of times, but it is certainly not the best. Cultural darkness in the West seems to be deepening. And it may well be a harbinger of greater darkness to come. In any case, we do well to remind ourselves, “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
We are seeing a resurgence of atheism in our time that is reminiscent of Voltaire and his ilk in the years just before the French Revolution. Major authors like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others are selling millions of books that aggressively attack Christianity and promote atheism. In Britain, and at least one city in the United States, just in time for the Christmas season, hundreds of buses will be carrying advertisements espousing anti-God sentiments.
Freedom of speech in Canada is threatened by out-of-control human rights commissions, both federal and provincial. And a number of universities in this country have banned pro-life clubs from operating on campus. In the U.S., the Democrats are poised to re-introduce the so-called “fairness doctrine,” which would largely shut down talk radio in that country; many nationally syndicated talk radio hosts are defenders of conservative values.
Politically, the situation in Canada and the U.S. is bleak. A “messiah” has been elected to the highest office in the most powerful country of the world. But few people know that president-elect Barack Obama holds socialist, if not Marxist convictions, and promises to be the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual president the country has ever seen. Speaking of the United States, Fr. Benedict Groeschel recently commented that it is entering into “the beginning of the twilight” of that country. In our own Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shocked and dismayed the pro-life community by stating that a Conservative government will not re-open the abortion debate and would also prevent others from doing so.
Rarely, if ever, have I seen such a somber mood among knowledgeable Christians. For example, in an imaginary letter dated Oct. 11, 2012, Focus on the Family predicts sweeping devastation to Christian and conservative values, a fundamental loss of religious freedom and virtual persecution of Christians just four years into the presidency of Barack Obama. There is much fear and disquiet among many people in many quarters. Yet the Light of the World is shining in the midst of the darkness and the darkness shall not prevail.
What shall we say about this strengthened and renewed opposition to fundamental Christian values? Firstly, we must not live in denial and pretend that things are no different. We must face the fact that the gathering gloom is real.
Secondly, we must reject all self-help schemes. It will take more than a brave face to confront a resurging opposition. We have not within ourselves what it takes to cope with defeats, suffering and persecution. The place to look for help is not within. The source and fountain of aid is outside ourselves. It is imperative to look at Christ’s example and follow it. We must look at Christ’s command and heed it. It is essential to rejoice at Christ’s victory over darkness and claim it in our own places of battle.
Christ has sent us on a mission. And by God’s help, it’s crucial that we not let fear of a rising tide of evil slow us down or distract us. Shutting up and shutting down is not an option. Jesus guides and strengthens us by stating in John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me …” He stood up to powers of evil, oppression and tyranny. He carried out his shining works while darkness glared. So must we. Jesus gives us no option, no way out. The mission is clear … if we are to serve him, we must – must – follow him.
Jesus carried no sword, nor may we. But, he assertively and unapologetically ministered in the teeth of his enemies. He shone light by speaking truth, doing good and dying on a Cross for his people. In the good sense of the word, he was militant. He had a message, a ministry and a mission and neither hostility, shame, nor the powers of hell could deter him. In the face of re-energized evil today, God’s people must look to Jesus. We too, must be militant in the pursuit of our calling.
Jesus said in John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” Friends, Jesus invites us to share in his work. Yes, there is gloom; yes there is deeper darkness on the horizon. No matter. It is yet day. There is still time to light fires – to push back darkness. Still time to laugh at threats, scorn shame and march willingly, joyfully, militantly with him who vanquished darkness. Onward Christian soldiers; the Light of the World has come!