June 28, 2019
Steady On Parade
Humility Marches to a Different Drummer
Pride goeth before the fall.
When does the fall come? Didn't Peter fall right after pridefully insisting he would not fail Jesus even if everyone else did?
While there is a respectful pride in one's clan for its just accomplishments, there is also self-centered personal pride in one's abilities or supposed moral superiority--and also a spirit of rebellious pride.
Beware toxic Pride, deadliest of sins, downfall of Lucifer, inspiration of Babel, spirit of the new Babylon who "glorified herself and played the wanton" (Rev. 18:7). The fall comes upon a whole nation or world in the grip of such pride. Its coming is as inexorable as the rising waters of the Flood.
So when does the Big Fall come? We may as well ask, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?" It is not for us to know. We are to know only "Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Paul means to know the person of Jesus Christ and the humble character of him as crucified. The Cross is a sign of the opposite of Pride, humility, and divine humiliation at that.
Paul instructs us that we are in humility to count others better than ourselves .... to have this mind among ourselves, which we have in Jesus, who emptied and humbled himself, to the point of Crucifixion. So, to know Christ and him crucified is to know a Humble Lord who went such a distance for us sinners. If God in our midst is so humble, who dares flaunts pride?
Yet, a new Babylon hosts a WorldPride parade this Sunday; the city from which I write will also have its Pride Parade. What exactly is being paraded so proudly? Service for others? National sacrifice? Don't do this, but if you did watch this parade in person, you'd be ashamed to be seen there. This kind of pride is a devouring kind, intolerant of those who are repulsed.
But this is the world in which we live. Just like the original disciples, we have the choice of looking at circumstances in which we find ourselves from various perspectives, including the perspective of faith. Jesus often remarked, "O ye of little faith!" It's a good checkpoint for us in the circumstances of life in which we find ourselves, lest we, in our own pride, think like the Pharisee who boasted to God he was not like other sinners.
In all circumstances, even on his way to Golgotha, Jesus marched steady on his set course in full possession of faith, love, and humility. He knew what he was doing and every step was in faith. He calls us to join him now, today, even in the midst of the agitated passions of the tempestuous world.
This Sunday, pious and orthodox Christians who know Christ and him crucified will be processing to the House of the Lord, acknowledging their sins, following in his steps, in a direction flowing opposite of the tide of Pride on its headlong rush toward a fall. We will pray for those caught in its devices, knowing we must remain steady in keeping pace with our Lord toward the goal of the upward call, lest we drift.
This Sunday also happens to be June 30, which for Orthodox Christians is the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, and for Catholics commemorated the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. They walked, steady, in His Steps. They are there for us, along the 2,000-year-old parade route, showing us the path. We may be proud to join them on the way, the Lord's good and faithful witnesses. This parade will end in glory.
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Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,
James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James
James M. Kushiner is Executive Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and Executive Director of The Fellowship of St. James.