In this world Christ was rejected. The fragmentary life of this world was gathered into His life: he was the heartbeat of the world and the world killed him. In that murder the world itself died, and lost its chance to become the paradise that God created it to be. We can go on developing bigger and better things, and even a more humane society that may keep us from annihilating ourselves, but when Christ the true life of the world, was rejected, it was the beginning of the end. That rejection had finality about it. As Pascal said “Christ is in agony until the end of the world.” Christianity often appears however to preach that if men try hard enough to live the Christian lives, the crucifixion can somehow be reversed. This is because Christianity has forgotten itself; it has forgotten that it must first of all stand at the cross. (For the Life of the World, Alexander Schmemann, 1963)
There is a huge misapprehension within the church regarding the roles of Christians in this world. Some believe that the world is not worth our time because to labor in it is to polish brass on a sinking ship. Others believe that the ship has arrived, and that it is now time to set things right for its crew. Both of these popular views miss the main point of our true situation. Fr. Alexander gets at the heart of the matter when he writes, “Jesus was the heartbeat of the world and the world killed him”, and consequently by “that murder the world itself died, and lost its chance to become the paradise that God created it to be”. The significance of this for Christian living is gigantic because it strips the Christian mind of every delusion that we can bring this world back to life. We cannot bring the world back, it is dead! Now there is only the hope of a new world. Therefore, all right belief and right practice for this life must begin at the cross of our Lord Jesus.
Seeing the dead state of this present creation has real consequences upon what we think, say, and do. When