The Ancient Modern
The Idolaters / Joshua Alan Sturgill
No one will be more surprised than Christians
at the manner of the Second Advent of the Christ.
See them dressed for His return in their most polite
virtues, their most eloquent theologies, to welcome Him
into their satisfaction. Ah! The Lord! He comes! — yet
His Glory is strange and unexpected, like the swirling
of saffron robes, like like the pattern of an arabesque,
like the fragrance of sandalwood and cassia — Ah!
He is Savior also of the Buddhist and the Moslem,
Savior of the Taoist sage and Hindu priest. He speaks
in Sanskrit chant, in tribal dance and in the simple beauty
of Haiku. How they rush toward Him, the only Christ
Himself, the Gate of Paradise, the Narrow Way! Now
the saving hatred of the world is rewarded with strength
to love all broken things and no longer be wounded
by brokenness. But the Christians
hesitate. Jesus hasn’t given them, as they expected,
the best seats at the banquet or the better wages owed
the day-long laborers. All His Word is true for all, but
many turn away, unsure. Are their eyes darkened
by His generosity? Did they not know He is the Sun
enlightening all whose nature He assumed, for the Jew
and also for the Greek? For the scrupulous and the atheist?
For the aborted, the suicides, the deranged? The gates
of Hell did not prevail: see them burned and broken open!
Death has died; the Curse is cursed; the Fall collapses
on itself. God’s judgement, the command: Arise my love,
my beautiful one, and come with Me. For the storm
is passed, the winter gone. Now is the time for singing.
New Heaven erupts around us. God is here. Our idols
of Him are burning. The only escape is into His Fire