Fr Matthew Baker: What Glory Will You Bring into the Holy City?

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria

Matthew_Baker_Square.jpgTHE CITY OF Cain, the kingdom of Satan, cannot stand (Mt. 12:25-26). But neither is our end to be found in a flight from history, an escape from the city. For if the story of Scripture, which is our story, began with a garden, we know that it will end, not with a garden, but with a city: even the holy city, the new Jerusalem, “coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2), and in the midst of her, the tree of life (Rev. 22:2).

And just as in the Exodus into the promised land the people of Israel brought with them the spoils of Egypt (Ex. 3:21-22), the silver and the gold gathered in the land of their affliction, so also into this holy city “the kings of the earth shall bring their glory” (Rev. 21:24): “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8)—all things of beauty and genuine creativity which have been made or accomplished within the city of man, shall in some way be found in this new Jerusalem, the city of the living God. The human polis and all that it represents—human history, human culture—is not only judged; it is also cleansed and sanctified, redeemed—if only now “in hope” (Rom8:24; cf. 8:25).

“What shall pass from history into eternity?” asked Fr Georges Florovsky, of blessed memory. “The human person with all its relations, such as friendship and love. And in this sense also culture, since a person without a concrete cultural face would be a mere fragment of humanity.”  

—Fr Matthew Baker, "The City of Cain and the City of Jesus"

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