Witness of History- Look, See, Pray

The Piazza del Duomo… best known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa… was built at roughly the time William was thinking of changing his nickname from “Bastard” to “Conqueror.” 1066 and all that… For over a thousand years this beautiful cathedral has been a witness to Christian faith in Italy: the quirk of history that meant the bell tower was built on unstable ground, if anything, adds to the wonder of human accomplishment. Still it stands- and attracts tourists and worshippers in their thousands.

Every now and then the “doom of Christianity” is announced with a big fanfare. This has been said at many times and places- and some parts of the global Church have indeed waned or faced major persecution. Yet the Church is still here, bruised and battered in some degree. Always a new growth springs up, halfway round the world or almost next door. History gives perspective.

Christianity is not based on its apparent “success” and has often thrived best when working from the margins of society.

Europe is filled with churches and cathedrals, chapels and monuments. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox strand, and Protestantism in a thousand flavours have engraved indelible markers; and these have been exported to the Americas, Asia, and the African continent. A thousand years after this Tuscan cathedral was built, two thousand years after the coming of Jesus Christ: and the Good News continues to spread under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The “wind blows where it will” despite the onslaught of capitalism, communism, humanism, secularism and every other “-ism” that has ever challenged the purpose and Will of God.

Every generation, every expression of Christian faith, faces its own opponents and distractions. The witness of history states quite clearly that what God began in Jesus has a 100% rate of survival so far. That is over 712,000 new days where Christians have proclaimed “the Son is Risen!” I don’t think we need to panic when some new crisis vents steam and hysteria.

Those who prefer to live in greed, selfish pride, or aggression are taking on a big obstacle and have never won the fight.

Jesus commissioned His Church through the Ages and all places with bold confidence. After all it is God’s Kingdom, not a mere human construct. In fact it is HIS Story. Matthew uses these words as the last words in his Gospel:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28 v18-20)

Therefore… despite the doom-mongers, mistakes, and failures- since God is the mover of history, I think we can safely say “so far so good!”

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