Those of us who live in this century are privileged to live in one of the most momentous periods of human history. It is an exciting age filled with hope. It is an age in which a new social order is being born. We stand today between two worlds—the dying old and the emerging new.
Now I am aware of the fact that there are those who would contend that we live in the most ghastly period of human history. They would argue that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia, the uprisings in Africa, the nationalistic longings of Egypt, the roaring cannons from Hungary, and the racial tensions of America are all indicative of the deep and tragic midnight which encompasses our civilization. They would argue that we are retrogressing instead of progressing. But... the present tensions represent the necessary pains that accompany the birth of anything new.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream (Speech given on May 17 1957) with thanks to inward/outward
I think Dr. King’s words may be as true for us in this century as in the last… He was, I believe, a true prophet—one of the truest in living memory—a man whose faith and passion for justice questioned all humankind, and whose love and courage enabled him to follow his Lord clean through the gate of the Cross into glory.
We cannot know, though, what the new thing is that is coming to birth, or how far advanced is our parturition. All we can know for certain is God’s love for us, and his mercy in Christ, as Paul explains:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now;and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.For in* hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes* for what is seen?But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.