Sometimes, the biggest things that happen in an age are the most inconspicuous at any given time during that age. Today, very big things are afoot that are so big we don’t see them happening. If you were to ask a Roman at the time of the fall of the Empire, “What do you feel about the imminent collapse of the Empire?” they would deny that it was happening. The weakness of the walls of Rome only became apparent after their collapse.
In our time, there are also major historical events occurring. One of those major events is the movement of the poorer peoples of the world (usually in the southern areas of the world) to affluent countries (usually in the more modernized northern areas). Much of Latin America is seeking to move to the United States and Canada. Much of Africa and the Middle East are trying to move to Western Europe.
We can also say that there is a general move from the East to the West as well. In this global society, anyone who is poor will try to go to another area where he or she can have hope. So this mass migration into the United States and the more ‘developed’ nations is a gigantic fact that impinges not only on our social, economic and political realities, but on the spiritual as well.
Ever since the migration of Abraham out of the pagan city of Ur to a new land, people have always seen the movement toward hope as part of the divine plan. This is happening on a vast scale today. It is helped by our modern communications and the technology of modern travel that can have us switch Continents in the course of a single day!
Countries, including our own, are worried about boundaries. Given the great technological leaps that we see in both communication (the smart phone alone has changed the world) and travel (people are much more mobile than ever), the possibility of movement of whole populations (look at the mass migration out of Syria) has made the nation-state vulnerable to being overwhelmed; hence this talk of walls and extreme vetting. The countries that have developed technologically and that seem to provide a new possibility of hope for the far greater numbers of the dispossessed are thinking of ways to keep people out even as the masses seep through whatever holes there are in the barriers erected by those of wealth and privilege. The peoples of the earth are on the move and they have the communication and the methods of movement that modern life has bestowed on everyone. Clearly, we are in for a global clash of epic proportions.
So how do we react to this as Christians?
We should be confident that the direction given to Western Civilization with its basis in Christian Philosophy and Spirituality is a very advantageous development for peoples. Even in our secular, seemingly godless ways, Western culture is built on Judeo-Christian principles. This philosophical-political-religious culture we call ‘The West” was not built on Islamic or Buddhist or Hindu or Confucian substructures. The world is not trying to get into Cairo or Bangkok or Mumbai or Shanghai. The United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia are among the destinations of choice. Whether these countries like or not, the ethos of these areas is based on Christian Principles: faith, compassion, humility etc. I know this is very un-Politically Correct, but I think it is true. That is not to say that the other “world systems based on spiritual-moral principles” are not filled with truth, wisdom and great value. People who truly live by the Koran, or the Upanishads, or by the Buddha are wonderful and truly advanced human beings. However, Christianity gives an explicit separation between Church and State, thereby providing the intellectual infrastructure for a true multi-cultural and multi-religious system, which can respect and integrate the wisdom of all these other worldviews.
I believe, therefore, that our western secularism, with its often obnoxious and morally flawed Politically Correct culture, along with its crass commercialism, may be doing the work of God. Imbedded in the striving to protect the rights of every conceivable minority is the Christian love of even the humblest person. The West is more Christian in an anonymous way than the avatars of modern atheism may be ready to admit.
This is why I think this globalization and its accompanying movements of peoples is the work of God and a working out of Christ’s words that no one can go to the Father except through Him.
Something very big is afoot. It is so big that it is hard to see in one sighting. But it is there and it is one of the most important facts of our lives.