War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Oh, my goodness. How I have been deceived, and how powerful is humility in my salvation. Of all these stunning and moving words, what brings the sting of tears to my eyes is this: "And that if evil seems to rage on Earth it is only because it knows it has already lost ..." These days at age 70 I find I feel something like true despair for the world for the first time in my life. But this helps! Evil rages because it is an angry, wounded beast. Dangerous. But dying. Only love is eternal. Amen.
This was so meaningful to me. I am a Jesus lover and the phrase that really touched me was “the opposite of fundamentalism is HUMILITY”. So much to think about how we have all been deceived - and to be grateful for The One Who Is Truth.
What a sermon! The theme of deceit struck such a chord with me: I believe that all of us have been lied to throughout our lives, whether by politicians, marketers, advertisers, multinationals or church leaders. Call me cynical and jaded, but haven't most 'nation states' been founded on violence and lies? (Lies are a form of violence in themselves: they violate the truth.) Of course, I have lied, too, both to myself and to others. Which is why humility - humble uncertainty rather than righteous certainty - has to be the way to go. P.S. You write beautifully, too.
Humility as the opposite of fundamentalism. This is such a tender yet powerful truth.
Thank you for that line, Nadia 🕊️
As a student of human behavior (Soc/Psych/Phil/Religion/Economics/War I have noticed that the absense of compassion/empathy is the definition of evil. It tends to arise when we are afraid; focused on protecting ourselves! Protecting our property, self-concept, money, influence, or whatever is important to us! Whatever helps us feel in control of our lives.
And most sadly, those who see our defensiveness are themselves threatened by it. They then lose their compassion/empathy as they try to protect themselves… and so the spiral of fear/evil begins/sustains itself.
This dynamic seems to emerge from our feelings of being separated into us/them and afraid of our deepest threat of never being loveable. Others don't love us and worst of all even God can't love us! We yearn to be one but are afraid it can never be. So we have to protect ourselves. Some (all?) of us are quite proud of our ability to protect ourselves… with little regard to how it affects others…
Physical distance, identity group labels, appearance, languages, and fear itself, anything that makes it difficult to communicate promotes this we/them view of our situation.
Jesus faced all threats with out the need to defend himself, even faced death at the hands of the religious/political powerful. He told us that perfect love (knowing we are one/together) drives out fear.
He taught us that as long as we are in love with God, we have nothing to fear. He also showed us in Gethsemane that this is not easy, and that we can help one another…we can build on the love we experience…
Be not afraid! God loves and we are one in Him. He is a glorious and touching communion of us all.
So breakdown walls, reduce distances, be vulnerable and available, to God and one another! Be one candle of light in a dark and fearful world.
Communion says all of this and so much more about love and what it can do for us.
In spite of all the separation and evil that we experience, love wins! Win as much as you can…
Faith evolves when we challenge ourselves to look at things differently. That includes our sources of information and our institutions (eg, scripture and church respectively). If we could find out how much spiritual and emotional damage we cause by being sanctimonious rather than empathetic, the numbers would be shocking.
Thank you for your dialectical thoughts and brilliant beautiful ability to write about it so my mind can receive it.
I loved the imagery of a "Spiritual Monster Truck Rally at the End of the Opera." It seems very fitting for the Book of Revelations. And it made me chuckle as well. Thanks Nadia!
Thanks Nadia! Awesome and thought-provoking words but words of comfort also! Also a little more understanding of Revelations.
Thank you, Nadia!
The worst kind of deceptions I deal with every day are the deceptions I foist on myself. (Even that one: "No, really! I am the absolutely *worst* liar I know!" <eyeballs rolling>) I don't remember the term for it anymore, but there's a branch of psychology/philosophy which asserts that the only way we know the world exists is via our senses -- which, in a way, assets that the whole world is in me, myself. So then the deceiver of the whole world, hmm, must be... 🤯
Look forward to your thoughts each week, so good! Will be rereading article throughout the week, for sure. Thankful for you.
Thank you for your amazing gifted insights and solutions to our brokenness and just being human! Humbly asked God....
Thanks, Nadia, for cutting through the crap of lies and deceptions experienced daily and shining light on the hope of victory.
What a wonderful way to start the day. Thank you!!
What a beautifully thoughtful exegesis, Nadia.
Love your description of the Lord's Table: "This table crosses borders and razor wire and occupied land. It defies all protocols of empire. Here, at his table the deceiver’s claims to a merit-based, race-based, gender-based, income-based seating chart are eternally invalidated."
How so relevant for today is that!
Thank you Nadia for yet another powerful sermon! ❤❤