While reading of John the Baptist’s death today, I came across this quote by St. John Chrysostom:
“What evil could bring about this just man’s death? What could cause his violent death? […] He did not suffer death, he won victory; it was not the end of his life, but the beginning of a better life. Learn to live as a Christian: nothing will ever harm you and you will be given the great reward” (St John Chrysostom, De Providentia, 22, 10)
“Learn to Live as a Christian.” Have I been doing that? In getting caught up in the world’s news, the world’s woes, the world’s steps and missteps – am I living as a Christian?
Christians are not of this world. They belong to another.
I went to George Washington’s house yesterday. They had an event and the house was open for visitors. It was a rainy, damp night and the doors to the outside were wide open; people tramping through. I looked up at the walls – original paintings that George had had on his walls were being exposed to all this moisture; this human parade going by. I asked the guide about the paintings – all at least 200+ years old – all with no visible means of protection. She wasn’t sure how well they would stand up, and we were both left shaking our heads.
And then I left the house and gave it not another thought.
Isn’t that what you do when the house, the belongings, the ‘stuff’ does not belong to you? Isn’t that what you do when you are not at home? You can be concerned, you can see if there is anything you can do – but you are not in control of ANY of the decisions about it. And, conversely, you are not responsible for the end result of those decisions. You are simply passing through; trying to help when you can; but remaining detached.
Jesus told Pilate, shortly before his death, that this was not his Kingdom. If it was, He said, then countless angels would be fighting for Him. But as it was – He was not at home.
Shouldn’t I remember that – if I Live as a Christian – then neither am I?