Barth on the New Year: Christ has overcome the world

karl_barth¬†Confidence in its cause and continuance and future and triumph depends absolutely upon the fact that it is always confidence in Him; that renouncing all other helpers it keeps only to Him who is not only a Helper but already the Conqueror, the Victor, the death of death, and who as such is not apart from but with His saints. For the community everything depends upon its readiness not to try to be anything more or better or surer than His people, His body, and to live and grow as such on earth. In every deviation from confidence in Him, it can only be deceived as to its preservation, and know that it is doomed and lost. There is no objective need, or even possibility, of concern and anxiety or despair concerning its preservation. This can arise only where there is deviation; when search is made for other helpers; when there is desertion of the Victor by whom the community — even though it may be threatened on all sides, even though it may be under assault or the cross, even though it may be secularised or sacralised — is objectively victorious, and thus able at all times to throw off every fear. There is objective need to rejoice in its actual preservation. As the community does this, it is in a position to take up its human responsibilities with new thankfulness, seriousness and soberness, not folding its hands, but when it has prayed, and continuing to do so, going boldly to work as if it were not threatened by dangers. Fluctuat nec mergitur. The One who is attested and attests to Himself in the Bible will never have any other message for His threatened community than that it should be confident, not because it has no reason for anxiety as it exists in the world, but because of the counter-reason which radically removes this reason — that He has overcome the world. [Taken from¬†Church Dogmatics: Index, 303-04, “New Year’s Day”].