No, not a post on the ‘what did the Romans ever do for us…’ but I have just come off another interview with Stephen Hill (I will put a video up here when it is available). He has a way of asking questions that provoke thought and today was no exception. First though a dream.
A few weeks ago I had a dream (short version here) where I went to a city that I knew well. I walked past a big church building that had been built when church-going was at its highest. I almost walked past it as I did not recognise it, the whole place – outside and inside – had been changed beyond recognition. I went down the hill to where I knew there was a cathedral. I went inside it and the inside (formerly impressive but not personal) was transformed. Carpeted, arm chairs, sofas. It felt as homely as any home could be. I am looking at this when someone comes past me that I recognise. This person was from a ‘new church’ background and was working inside the cathedral, absolutely buzzing with the responses of the people. I was very positive in my response, but said, ‘This is not for me I am off to get involved in what I have to do.’ I knew somehow that the transformation was not simply surface but deeply interior, and that it was connected to a decision taken some 30 years before that ‘christendom is over’, and to live in the light of it. (More to it – short version.)
Back now to Rome. ‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all’ – a message from angels or from Rome? Pax Romana, peace on earth, and in the light of it goodwill to all… just imagine and experience the quality of life as a result of this peace. Let us be grateful and offer up our sacrifice to the god of peace. So we make our way past / through the field dedicated to Mars and on to the temple. (Mars – the god of war.) Of course there is peace, there are no enemies, all comply willingly, unwillingly, or are removed – and that included a certain young Jew from Galilee.
Christendom is the result of the ways of Rome. Christianity became the state religion, so it is no surprise that Christendom is peace through war. Our Temple is built on the mountain of war. (The so-called ‘religious’ mountain is exactly that, and the idea that Christianity / the church is to be the top of the mountain speaks volumes… Christendom is long-since over but the war to see it re-established is far from over, though in its last crazy stage, comparable to the many prophets inside Jerusalem in the closing days of the end of Jerusalem – 70AD. God will act as he always has, he is the God of the ‘red sea’; yes another exodus, but this one is a Jesus’ exodus.)
Peace on earth… what happened to the enemies? We saw them differently, we saw them no longer according to the flesh. The contrast of the two ‘gospels’ is absolute.
Only an embrace of the end of christendom can bring about a change to the interior. Embrace, not reluctant acceptance. And an embrace of ‘new creation’, for that is all that counts says Paul.
[A sidenote – the speech on Mars Hill, Athens, by Paul is very instructive. War centralises and controls and unifies through elimination. There on Mars Hill Paul speaks of distribution, freedom and expansion.]