Why do people nowadays feel alienated from Christ and from each other? Our culture has forgotten its Author.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an ancient hymn of the faith.
All glory, laud and honor to thee redeemer king.
Who from the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.
Thou art the king of Israel, thou David’s royal son.
Who in the Lord’s name cometh the king and blessed one.*
That beautiful, old hymn was written, get this, in the year 820, can you believe that? Way back before the Middle Ages, and that's what I want to talk to you about today.
I read a book called ‘The Sacred Romance’ once, and the authors explained how back then (you know, before the Middle Ages) the Cathedral was the center of everyday life. Back then, there weren’t wristwatches, Church bells would mark the passing of hours. People celebrated Pentecost, not the opening of the baseball season. Christian expressions like, "The Year of our Lord," or "Pray tell," or "God be with you” were common ways to greet one another, not “hey, how ya doing?” Even saying something like "by Christ's blood" would pepper normal conversations. It was everyday speech reminding young and old alike that everyone's lives were entwined in this marvelous, divine drama that was far higher, far greater, far bigger than the daily events of their lives.
People back in the Middle Ages (before the age of science and the enlightenment), back then people realized that their lives were a part of a very big story of God's dealings in this world. But we don't live in the Middle Ages, do we? No, we live in the post-Christian era where people feel embarrassed to talk about God; they’re embarrassed to include Him in everyday language. In fact, speaking openly about God nowadays can get you into trouble on a school campus, or at a city council meeting. It can invite scorn and rejection. We live in an age where the transcendence of God’s great story has been divided and splintered and subdivided into a whole bunch of smaller, disconnected stories. As a result, people have no connection to God or to each other. We are isolated; we are splintered. No wonder people feel alienated and separated from each other.
Oh, to be sure tragedy still moves us to tears and heroism still lifts our spirits, but we have no larger context into which to fit these events. Our culture is unable to fit all the fragments and pieces of individual life stories into any kind of a meaningful, larger framework. That's what happens when a society forgets the Author—capital A—when we forget the big story of God’s greatness, His holiness and His sacrificial love. We become Lone Rangers, we live like mavericks, disconnected and disjointed from everyone else around us. And the result is a deep and troubling loneliness.
So, if you feel as though your life is fragmented, remember you are a part of God’s great story, and remember this, every day of your life, whether you realize it or not, every day is weighted with kingdom purpose. So God be with you, friend. Your story fits perfectly into the Great Story; that is, His story.
*All Glory, Laud, and Honor, Theodulph of Orleans, Melchior Teschner, Public Domain
© Joni and Friends
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