Push Back Against Culture
I. We must push back against our culture as hard as it pushes back against us.
April 18, 1775, a shot was fired in Lexington that was heard around the world. Tensions reached a climax. The American people took up their bayonets and pushed back against the British troops. After the war, they founded a nation on freedom, equality and justice. They wanted to build a republic and that meant creating a new culture. Medicine, arts, and schooling were transformed. Even teatime was replaced with our favorite American coffee. They took a vision and built a reality.
Christianity is no less revolutionary. Christian culture is no less deliberate.
II. Today is the Feast of Christ the King.
Each year, this feast reminds us of the gravity of our faith. To be Christian is to have Christ as your King, not in name or idea, but in reality, practice, and culture. The colonists fought for something. The rejected tyranny and they build a world around their principles. In the same way, every true Christian must push back against the culture around him and insist on a culture with Christ as King.
III. The promise of this King fills the scriptures.
The prophets for years warned that He would be Wonderful and Prince of Peace. Zachariah prophesied, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph! Behold, your king is coming!” At last, the king arrived and we remember, today, his coronation. As Jesus Christ ascends his throne on the Cross, He says to Pontus Pilate, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.” Then he reveals the superiority of his kingship. “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.
There are two kingdoms – two cultures. The chasm between the two couldn’t be greater. What we see here are the two cultures standing face to face. One is seductive but impotent. The other is challenging, but good, true and beautiful.
IV. Jesus Christ told us to make a decision.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
In the same light, he makes it plain what it means to be Christian. “The Kingdom of Heaven,” he tells us, “is like unto treasure hid in a field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-45).
You cannot go with the flow of man’s society and go with the flow of God’s society. The lifestyle, values and culture of secularism are utterly foreign to the lifestyle, values and culture of Orthodox Christianity.
On the Feast of Christ the King, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre warned his flock to be deliberate.
“We need to do everything possible,” he preached, “to extend this Kingdom of Jesus Christ in our souls, in our bodies, in our families, in our countries. We must extend the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in our minds by the prac¬tice of the…Faith… We must extend this Kingdom of Jesus Christ in our wills, by following the laws of Jesus Christ, and in our families, so that He rules all the…faithful.”
V. This is our challenge on Christ the King.
How is our life different from the lives of our peers? How are we being deliberate to walk the Christian path and not the secular path?
How do we spend our time? Do we arrange our schedule with the Church as first and foremost? If not, what then have we placed above Church? How do we balance our checkbooks? Are we constantly reevaluating our priorities or have we become complacent?
As Flannery O’Conner once wrote, you must “push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” To be a true Christian, is to assume the attitude of the revolutionaries. We must push back.
Christ is King. Follow Him.