The Second Appearance

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The evil that mortifies us most is usually that arranging of elements within ourselves that have been forged from the elements, experiences and circumstances that have made us whatever and whoever we are in life. In examining the making of ourselves we tend to find an image rather like Nebuchadnezzar, King of  Babylon, dreamed of in the second chapter of the Book of Daniel.

The image in Daniel 2:26-49 was a bright image that had obviously had a great deal of fine work in the creating of it. It was a shining and excellent image but the head was gold, the chest of silver, the stomach of brass, the legs of iron and the feet of clay. Daniel said that this image seen in the King’s dream was in time to break under pressure. The image would crumble because the element of iron could not stick to the clay, and the clay feet would bring the whole business falling down into pieces.

That is a very good likeness to the composition of anyone. As people their elements, circumstances, experiences are rolled into one by the years. But some of what is rolled together may not fit together  permanently. Even a beautiful image, which can be underneath an unfortunate collection of opposites, may at any time come crashing down.

To put it more practically, each of us is constituted of opposite elements, non-sticking components and some bizarre experiences uneasily mortared together. No matter where we go, our composition follows us, and just one part failing, like the image’s feet of clay, can bring us down because we are made of varying and sometimes incongruent substances and attitudes that can cause us to suffer a tragic collapse or fall. The mixture in ourselves may be unique while the pressures we are put under may be different. But we live always under the danger of collapse. That tension is always with us. Blessed is the person in this confused society who makes it through without falling apart. Pray for grace that we as individuals may be put under no more pressure than any one part of us can withstand. Sometimes I feel it is only God’s grace holding a great many people I know together.

In this age of being busy sustaining images while always under some form of pressure, living is a most precarious occupation. Living always may have been uneasy, but I suggest our age has more and different  pressures than past ages to make persons feel uneasy. Never before has the world been in danger of such enormous and perhaps total devastation from technologies. All day every day the media beats like a drum at an Indian war dance, trying to get everyone to make a war dance over something sensational. It is hurry, hurry, hurry over and over. The world seems to enforce and re-affirm the precarious danger of collapse that all of us have plenty of already by just recognizing the very nature of our humanity.

Where are our priorities? An interior spiritual life on a daily basis should be a must. That is a priority if you are to be in this world yet not frenzied, hysterically and too much of this world. Too much of this present world can make you very nervous. Indeed, the world will drive you crazy if you let it. Therefore you must not let it. But you will have to struggle to do this. Just the world by itself taken straight can be a dose at times.     The knowledge of our insecure composition, everyone’s insecure composition, does not help. But some time with the Eternal can dilute the dose that is too much of a threatening and changing world.

Take time for an interior life. Remember Luke 17:21, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Seek God, The Eternal, daily. Have a regular time to do this that you do not see the world as those who have no hope. You need to meet a higher transforming Spirit at time to restore your sense of dignity as a human being. You need a time, particularly in a materialistic day, to reject materialism as the ultimate answer. Then you  may not have to wait for the Second Appearance of Christ. One day you may be surprised to find you have had a Second Appearance of Christ in your heart.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.