Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Year Of Our Lord, 2010

Tomorrow is AD 2010 - Anno Domini 2010, the year of our Lord, 2010. Or for those who don't like Latin, CE 2010 - the year of Christ's Empire, 2010.

One of the great contributions of Christianity to the world has been the very idea of history. To the pagan mind, history is simply the endless repeating of cycles and has no inherent meaning or purpose in itself. We are born, we live, work, eat, sleep, reproduce and die. The sun rises and sets again, and goes round to the place it began.

The advent of the God-man at Bethlehem changed that forever. As Christianity has spread itself across the world, so has the idea of history as progress - an idea which is one of the bedrocks of post-Reformation Western civilisation. The words which Jesus spoke after his resurrection - "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations..." inevitably - to the believing mind - imply the meaningfulness of history, the reality of progress and the certainty of final victory however long it should be in coming. This is not unthinking triumphalism; it is reality. It does not minimise or ignore the setbacks, surprises and disappointments: it includes and transcends them.

Jesus has rightly reserved all the glory to himself and therefore no mortal is permitted to be more than - or should desire to be more than - the tiniest of cogs turning in the vast machine. Ours is not to redefine history around ourselves, but to rejoice every time that we remember that its who meaning, purpose and success is in him. Each time the calendar ticks round again we are one year's march nearer home and the final day when he shall be revealed and adored as the all in all. Let every knee bow. This is the year of our Lord and His Empire, 2010: all hail!


Ric said...

Sure, Christianity invented history and progress. It also probably invented science, writing, the wheel, and love too, huh?

Your hyperbole is ridiculous.

David Anderson said...

Hi Ric,

Sorry you didn't agree. The pagan view of time, the fact that Christianity replaced paganism in what became "Christendom" and that we are the direct descendants of that inheritance are matters of historical record though. Scoffing does not constitute an argument.

Science? Well, yes, that one too. The modern scientific enterprise arose out of the worldview and peace of post-Reformation Christian Europe. It made no sense in a pagan worldview, hence didn't arise before.

Love - well, yes, that one too. We only know the true depths of the love of God through his sending of his Son to the cross - there's no other comparable revelation of it.

Writing and the wheel.... Christ invented those too, but then he did make the universe. But whether they first arose out of the fruit of a Christianised society, I don't know. The Bible records (Genesis 4) that Cain's family were the first in various cultural achievements.

Best wishes,