On the Incarnation of the Word 53 – Pagan Gods Routed by the Sign of the Cross

In this section, Athanasius continues to describe the rout of the pagan gods by Christ. I found this particularly interesting living, as we do, in a place and an age where some form (though certainly a milder form) of ancient paganism is experiencing a revival.

And to mention one proof of the divinity of the Saviour, which is indeed utterly surprising,—what mere man or magician or tyrant or king was ever able by himself to engage with so many, and to fight the battle against all idolatry and the whole demoniacal host and all magic, and all the wisdom of the Greeks, while they were so strong and still flourishing and imposing upon all, and at one onset to check them all, as was our Lord, the true Word of God, Who, invisibly exposing each man’s error, is by Himself bearing off all men from them all, so that while they who were worshipping idols now trample upon them, those in repute for magic burn their books, and the wise prefer to all studies the interpretation of the Gospels?  For whom they used to worship, them they are deserting, and Whom they used to mock as one crucified, Him they worship as Christ, confessing Him to be God. And they that are called gods among them are routed by the Sign of the Cross, while the Crucified Saviour is proclaimed in all the world as God and the Son of God. And the gods worshipped among the Greeks are falling into ill repute at their hands, as scandalous beings; while those who receive the teaching of Christ live a chaster life than they.

We are the body of Christ. We are the ones who claim to be living in the Kingdom of God, declaring Jesus of Nazareth our Lord. If we see the reverse of the above happening today, how can we not be culpable? And is not our failure a failure of communion (oneness) and love? After all, Jesus gave those who do not believe the right to judge if we follow Jesus by our love. If Christianity is failing in the West, it is failing because we do not love.

We follow an incredible God, found nowhere else and unlike any other god. Once I finally saw that God in a handful of people and began to seek to know him, I was captivated by the beauty of the Triune God. I’ve been entranced ever since. But I also have to agree with Gandhi. “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

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