Some of you may remember a story titled “The Prince and the Dragon”. It’s about a king and his son who lived in a kingdom that was terrorized by a vicious dragon which flies in the night air, killing and eating some of the king’s subjects, the citizens. His sons aided their king father in fighting and sometimes injuring the beast, hoping that someday, they would slay the dragon.
One night, while riding his horse alone in the forest, one of the king’s sons heard his name spoken softly but surely. It was the dragon who said to the prince, “Do not be alarmed. I am not what your father thinks I am. Actually, I am pleasure.” It then offered the prince a ride on its back, promising that it would be fun and exciting but not dangerous at all and told the prince to bring his sword with him for protection if he was afraid. All was safe and secure until, after many nights riding the beast, the prince noticed that scales were growing on his back and the back of his hands, but the prince decided to ignore it. But one nightly aerial excursion turned particularly bloody as the dragon, swooped down upon a village, attacking some citizens, leaving some women and children bleeding from the flying dragon’s sharp talons. The prince was wrought with guilt and shame, asking himself, “What have I become?”
Considering today’s cultural, political, and social strife in this nation, the Christian is certainly one citizen who has hope because he lives this life—with his daily mea culpa, his acknowledgment of his guilt before God. He understands God is God and Man and Woman are not, understands and accepts the authority and sovereignty of God. He knows he doesn’t measure up and never could. In short, he knows of his unworthiness. But he also knows God’s grace as his greatest treasure. The God-denier, on the other hand, to console himself, will invent problems and crises that supposedly only Men and Women can solve, making them the collective savior. The result of this folly throughout human history is a continuation of what we see here in this nation. The Godless have no choice but to play God. And they always fail.
Nineteenth century pastor and theologian J. Gresham Machen penned this more than a century ago, “Paganism is that view of life which finds its highest goal of human existence in the healthy, harmonious, and joyous development of existing human faculties…is optimistic with regards to unaided human nature, [but ends with a broken heart]. Christianity begins with a broken heart…But Christianity does not end with a broken heart (as does paganism) but begins with the consciousness of sin, without which [the gospel of the cross of Christ] will appear as an idle tale.” (From Machen’s classic “Christianity & Liberalism”)
What is happening today is a continuation of Eden’s and Babel’s tragedies, living the serpent’s lie, “You will be like god…” Only Christ can slay the dragon and save His people, delivering peace and justice for eternity. Wisdom calls us to heed St. Paul’s advice from Ephesians 5:14 to the sleeping, sin-sickened, despairing, recalling Isaiah 51:7-9, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” He will. Gloria Deo—Glory to God