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CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT: The healing king may be seen in our darkest of days

By John Dempster

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Where were you in the 1970s?
Where were you in the 1970s?

I remember that long, sad autumn 50 years ago, its fearful darkness closing in on me: war in the Middle East; strikes by miners and railway workers, leading to a three-day working week and planned daily power cuts to conserve electricity.

I was immersed in the old biblical prophecies predicting that worldwide crisis and Middle East war would lead to the return of Jesus Christ as a conquering sovereign. Believing that the coming Jesus would reject me, I was desolate.

This year, another autumn of crisis. Wars in Ukraine, in the Middle East, in Africa; devastating earthquakes; famine; the consequences of global warming; 35 million refugees.

It can seem that the loveliness of the world is being dragged through the dirt and crucified on the cross of war, greed, pride, lust, and the very forces of nature. Once again, many Christians are energised by the expectation of Christ’s coming.

And so we cry out to God – and I, now without fear, join in these cries. ‘Come and put an end to war and grief! Come, to wipe away all tears! Come in love with the consuming fire which purges and purifies and is experienced as wrath only by those who persist in choosing darkness. Where are you, Father?’

May the same words be heard in our streets as rang out in Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings ‘that the king was indeed among them, and after war he brought healing’.

But God, I remember, is perpetually creating and sustaining the world. God’s is the energy which holds the universe together. God in each molecule. God in the basic chemistry of weapons and bombs and barbed wire. It’s not so much that the world is crucified. More that God is crucified on the cross of the world as we gather round and watch.

And is there hope? Yes! Because Christ who, as he died held in being the very cross-bar on which he hung emerged from the grave very much alive. A new era had begun.

And all who open themselves to Christ and to the light are already children of this new era, and one day the whole Earth will be resurrected into the eternal light of a new day and all will be well, and all the good things done in this world will somehow survive into the new reality of the world to come.

For me, 1973 was an autumn of pain and acute anxiety. But one Sunday that December I experienced, for the very first time, God’s love for me. It is so often in the darkest of days, when everything we know is shaken, that we see among us the healing king.

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