Lost in the Aftermath

Australia is one of the best places to live in the world. As I write this overlooking the beating heart of nation’s past, present, and future during NAIDOC week – the place of our Judeo-Christian foundations in contemporary society remains somewhat questionably at large.

For the mainstream media to not understand the gravity of a journalist appearing to endorse the necessity of the Virgin Mary in terminating unborn Jesus in the womb stands as a reminder to church leaders of the deceptive nature the recent Australian census.

Mocking and wanting the death of Christ is an age-old “virtue” that is unsurprising as such practice finds its roots perhaps with King Herod’s infanticide outlined in Matthew chapter 2 verse 16 to 18.

Our Great South Land with its current fellowship in the globalised world heavily influenced by the United States continues to beckon with the question of life, death, everything in between but perhaps not enough about the beyond.

The past few years has been uneasy on the everyday Australian not just with COVID deaths but even more critically the increase in mental health issues coinciding with the decline of Christianity (or at least self-identified Christianity).

Our post-modern society fears death yet endorses death as a solution to our problems with and in life.

Even as we reflect on Australia’s challenging relationship with our indigenous population and natural environment, we reflect on the injustice, deaths, and destruction caused in the name of progress.

The growing band of pro-science activists devoting themselves to the new religion of rebelling against extinction or in a metaphysical sense – partaking in the effort to ascertain humanistic eternal life shows the state of post-Christendom not just in Australia but the Western world.

It is important to not overlook the need for reconciliation with our past, an act which ultimately finds its roots in sacramental Christianity.

With power struggles abounding not just through military warfare but with breakdown of a cohesive society yearning for common values, the tensions and gulf that we feel today unfortunately now extend to the common person of differing views being seen as deplorable.

Death being wielded not as the unfortunate outcome in the quest for progress but regarded as a necessary good whether it be the logical conclusion of our current political discourse or the destruction of a child in the womb is the sickening reality that church leaders need to be awakened to.

Christians find ourselves amidst spiritual warfare not just against those seeking to tear down of our Judeo-Christian heritage but against nominalism that seeks to destroy the church from within through the weakening and ultimately death of our faith.

Faithful Christians however need not lose hope as we remember how Jesus taught us how to pray which includes an always timely reminder of God’s ultimate sovereignty.

We must return to the will of God in making things right with the past and it is only through His strength can such be achieved.

The Lord’s Prayer as derived from Matthew chapter 6 verse 9 to 13 stands as a forever reminder of what ultimately lies ahead despite death, destruction, and damnation in this world today.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

When Christians are truly within God’s kingdom, there is no fear in death as we hold the power of Christ in us and through living according to His will, we shall be able to nourished and stand firm until He returns or when we are called to heaven.

We also recognise that in seeking forgiveness, one must also repent which includes change as well as making things right, and for Christians we are inspired by ultimately the resurrection of our Lord

And as Christians stand for life, we also take heart with the yearnings of poet John Donne who famously celebrates Death’s death.

Holy Sonnets X or otherwise known as Death Be Not Proud reaffirms what is an often overlooked fact that Christ has achieved the ultimate victory.

The personification of Death leads to its death as all flesh and blood will face an end but our eternal bodies live through Christ when the time comes.

With Christ’s triumph over death, what prevails today is Death’s straw man attempt to separate us from the love of God.

Death be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,

For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,

Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,

Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,

Rest of their bones, and souls deliverie.

Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,

And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,

And better than thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?

One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,

And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

Death has no power nor does it even provide a reprieve from this world of inequality, chaotic environment, and damnation.

At the end of day, Death and its supposed power is over-rated as it finds itself in bondage to: providence, the unplanned, governing bodies, and people living in desperation.

Ultimately, Death is not in control, because it are other demonstrating their pursuit of power that make the choice in taking lives.

Christians, it’s time to be awakened to the reality that we are not looking for strength in self-identified numbers but we put our spiritual armour on as we heed the call of Christ who is our captain.

What a beautiful name is that of Jesus Christ, because we know that death could not hold him and that nothing can rival God’s sovereignty, because the end of Death is neigh as Donne famously states that “Death, thou shalt die”.

For Australia to continue to be one of the best places in the world and not fall into the socio-political polarisation of the United States, the Church must play a bigger role in supporting our communities.

The battle of the Church is not to be grasping for more self-identifying yet nominal “Christians” but rather it is a struggle not even between life and death, but a quest for eternity where death is no more.

Australia appears lost in the aftermath of a contemporary society that has rejected God and the opportunity of new life only made possible through Christ.

It is now a starting point for the Church to once again show that we are a force for good inspired by life through Christ’s resurrection, unlike the ways and powers of this world whom are motivated by death.

This article was first published in Christian Today Australia on Tuesday 19 July 2022.