Virgil Wander
The Angry Christian

Armageddon or Awesome

Christmas Eve Sermon, 2022

               What a year filled with wonders it has been!

               Just a couple of weeks ago humanity made a breakthrough that the Washington Post described as “the biggest news of the decade.”  And, yes, this is only the second year of the decade.

               That news was that we had achieved a fusion ignition and with that the first huge steps to maybe solving humanity’s clean energy problems.  Megan McArdle waxed poetic:

As you might already have heard, you are literally made of stardust. Most of the atoms in your body were forged in the core of some ancient sun, as lighter elements fused into heavier ones; you are the vicarious survivor of star fire and supernovas. Now your species is making stars — tiny ones to be sure, and very ephemeral, but nonetheless we are inching toward mastering the very process that made our world. This shift from product to producer would be wondrous even if it didn’t hold out hope for an energy revolution as profound as the shift from horsepower to fossil fuels.

               And that was just the biggest breakthrough of the year.  We also launched the James Webb Space Telescope and have already been overwhelmed with the beauty and detail of the images of our universe that it is sending back.

               There have been radical advances in Artificial Intelligence, battery storage capacity, and vaccines for all sorts of deadly diseases. 

               We’ve even proved that humanity can launch a spacecraft to deflect the orbit of an asteroid.

               When I read the science news, I am constantly excited at the abilities of humanity.  We are truly an amazing species.

               But, we also are a rather stupid species.  In 2022 Russia also launched a completely senseless and brutal war against Ukraine.  We’ve watched in horror as natural disasters around the globe have devastated communities and landscapes.  And we know that these horrors have been made worse by the changing climate that we had at least thirty years warning of and did very little to address. 

               It’s also been a year in which we can read the news and come away sad, frightened, angry.

               This is the paradox that it is to be a human being.

               The Guardian, early this fall, framed humanity’s future as a “race between Armageddon and awesome.”  Humanity is currently faced with a number of choices such that if we make the right ones, we create an awesome and amazing future for our descendants—a future that achieves many of humanity’s millennia-old dreams.  Or, if we make the wrong choices, then we might just live through a new Dark Age.  And it seems that there’s little chance for an outcome somewhere in between those options.  Armageddon or awesome.

               And so we end this year like we do every year, reading this ancient story about how God became a human being, born as a child to a teenage mother in a backwater town with animals and shepherds to celebrate this humble birth.

               The story of Jesus has always presented us a choice between Armageddon and awesome.  There is the way of the world, with its violence and poverty and injustice, or there is the way of Jesus, a life centered on love, grace, and service. 

               Jesus came to show us how humans can live.  What we are capable of.  That the divine image within us can lift us up to unimaginable glory. 

               This Christmas, let’s choose awesome. 


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