Who Will You Serve in 2014?

Ayep, still on my two week holiday break, and not returning to regular bloggage until Monday.

I hope you’re all enjoying whatever downtime you can snatch before the reality of an arbitrary new time-cycle dawns upon us and we realize that, although the awfulness of 2013 is over and we’ve survived (sort of) the fifth year of an Obama administration, three more years still remain. And at the end of that three years, we’ll just get yet another venal, corrupt, and narcissistic leader to drive us further down the road to ruin.

Yeah, that’s a terrible attitude to have, particularly when we are powerless to do anything about it. It was ever thus. Our beautiful country had a brief time when we were at least partly free of it, but that’s gone now, and while we can mourn it, there’s only so much we can do about it. In three years I get to face the choice between Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton? That’s a choice? Are you kidding me? A nation once led by great men is now led by the political equivalent of reality show stars.

Emperor Leo VI kneels before Christ (Hagia Sofia)

Once in a while we can lift our voice in protest and simply say non serviam, but I’ve chosen the better portion, and will focus on the small, the tested, the local, the eternal. I’ll teach. I’ll write. I’ll raise chickens. I’ll read. I’ll play, because play is important, too.

Most of all, I’ll pray, serve my family and neighbor, love, and continue seek the true and the beautiful in strange places and in the faces of those the powerful would like to forget.

I’ll try to make the little patch around me a bit better without worrying overmuch as fools and despots pull their levers and make their schemes and dream up new utopias that will never come to pass, but will make us all miserable and angry in the meantime.

Our eyes are fixed on a different goal, and we should never be too much at home here in our exile. We will always be slaves, but to whom will we be enslaved? Power? Money? Sin?

I will not serve them. They are not my masters. The beauty of our faith is that we may choose our ultimate master, and like Paul, I choose to be a slave to Christ Jesus, and any other master who would try to rule me can get in line.

You gotta serve somebody: Bob Dylan got that one right. The question isn’t if you will serve, but who or what.

We are people of the resurrection. Nothing can defeat us except ourselves. I think the year ahead will be another rocky one, as we continue to pull ourselves apart and give our fealty to people who have not earned it and do not deserve it. There are people whose power is utterly dependent upon our divisions and enmity. For when you say you follow this person or party, or that one, what are you following? Your eyes are on the ground, and that means you’re looking in the wrong place.

Oscar Wilde–haunted both by Christ and sin his whole life–understood that: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Let’s spend 2014 with our eyes on heaven. It’s not as far off as the stars. We get a foretaste of it in love and service and beauty and joy and the touch of another’s hand. It’s in the Eucharist and the sacraments.

Satan said non serviam to God, and the World follows his example.

It’s left to us to say non serviam to everyone but God.