Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh


As far back as 1970, even before the invention of the silicon chip, the American sociologist Alvin Toffler, was giving evidence of the onset of a deadly societal disease he called "future shock", the increasing human inability to cope with constant arriving in a future for which it is unprepared and ill equipped to adjust. Never since the Middle Ages have people resorted in such numbers to astrologers and clairvoyants while millennialists cults search the scriptures for signs of the end times. We live in a time when as never before people are consumed with fear and foreboding at what is coming upon the earth.

Since the 18th century, liberal progress theory has assumed the inevitable triumph of human reason in the perfection of humanity. Flowing from it, secular faiths like Marxism have grounded certainties about the direction and culmination of the historical progress. Similarly Darwinism postulated a schema of biological progress ingrained in the very nature of existence. The contemporary influence of  Buddhism reinforces the notion that nothing is permanent and that everything is only in process of becoming, even while the colourations of Relativism, Existentialism and Post-modernism are dissolving all the modernist certainties regarding meaning and direction.

For Christians, none of this should be new, surprising or alarming. Judaeo- Christian faith has always grappled with prevailing perspectives and world views. And one major result of this ongoing contention is the Canon of the Old and New Testament; not static and unquestionable but echoing many voices from many times and places witnessing to the constant voice of our God in their particular circumstances. Thus we need to be in constant dialogue with the experience of our ancestors in faith as well as with the experience of our world in our time, in order to hear our God speaks to us in terms that, like our ancestors in faith, we can speak to our contemporary world.

Our faith is based on a certain vision of the future, the consummation of the process of salvation which began in creation. It lives in the present but its perspectives looks to the end. Christians are the inheritors of a faith grounded in an  awareness of the historical process and its significance and in a process of life-long growth in grace until we come at last to his eternal kingdom. This is reflected in the very structure of the Christian bible, what St. Augustine described as "man's pilgrimage from Eden through this vale of tears to the heavenly Jerusalem", and repeatedly in the New Testament. The ministry of Jesus in the synoptic gospels is always on the road.

In the Eucharist, we proclaim the Mystery of Faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. This is the process that makes sense of all human history as we affirm that what took place in time past and what will take place in time future, all become present in the timeless self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar. (Fr. Alan Dale, St. Thomas the Apostle, Toowong, Brisbane, Australia)

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